What is a Heart Attack?
A heart attack occurs when the coronary artery supplying the heart muscle with blood is narrowed (or blocked) by fatty deposits (atheroma) known as atherosclerotic plaques. When this happens, the blood flow to the heart is restricted or blocked, depriving the heart of oxygen-rich blood and potentially leading to tissue death or myocardial infarction. Common symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain or discomfort, upper body discomfort, jaw pain, shortness of breath, feeling like they are choking or that something has lodged in their throat, nausea, dizziness, and lightheadedness.
What happens during a Heart Attack?
Heart attack: what to do and how to survive? A heart attack, also known as acute myocardial infarction, is a halt of blood flow to the heart due to a blockage in one or more of its coronary arteries. When a blockage starts to develop, the body will halt the flow of blood to the region, which will create ischemia, and that can cause a heart attack because if not treated, it can lead to necrosis of the cells. A heart attack also restricts the oxygen that reaches the body cells, which could cause a nervous upset or fainting. There are a few signs that you should look for if you think you have a heart attack.
The heart is one of the most powerful muscles that pumps blood around the body. A heart attack occurs when the flow of oxygen-carrying blood to the muscle is blocked, usually by a clot. Chest pain or discomfort is one of the known symptoms of heart attack, but there are additional symptoms that you should be aware of. A heart attack can happen at any time, and it doesn’t just happen to overweight, middle-aged adults. Here are a few facts about heart attacks.
Symptoms of a Heart Attack
A heart attack is the abrupt stoppage of blood flow to the heart due to a blockage that prevents blood from reaching the heart. According to the American Heart Association, the following are symptoms of a heart attack: Chest pain or discomfort Discomfort spreading to upper back, neck or arms Shortness of breath Nausea or lightheadedness Sweating or dizziness Foggy thinking Feeling unusually cold Anxiety Loss of appetite, of course, there are several other causes for these symptoms as well, which is why it’s important to contact emergency personnel as soon as you suspect any of the sign and symptoms.
Chest pain or discomfort
The most common symptom of a heart attack is chest pain or discomfort. The pain will usually travel through the chest to one or both arms, back, neck, jaw, or upper stomach within a few minutes. Other common symptoms of a heart attack include shortness of breath. Faintness or dizziness. Profuse sweating. Nausea. Indigestion. Lightheadedness. Anxiety. Unusual fatigue. Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias). Neck tightness. Weak or absent pulses (in the arms or legs). A heart attack is caused by an artery suddenly narrowing, cutting blood flow to the heart.
Other Symptoms of Heart Attack
Other Symptoms Some heart attack symptoms are very similar to those of other, less serious heart problems. It is important to distinguish the difference. Bradycardia is a condition in which your heart rate is 10 beats per minute lower than what is considered normal. An irregular heart rhythm is another condition where one’s heartbeat is not regular. An irregular heart rhythm is often present in individuals who have an arrhythmia, which can be precursor to a heart attack.
A heart attack can also be preceded by chest pain and shortness of breath. Chest pain occurs when the muscles surrounding your heart contract and release, causing the pain because of decreased blood supply to the heart.
- Chest pain or discomfort can radiate to the left arm, neck, jaw, or back
- Shortness of breath
- Neck discomfort
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain in the jaw
- Lower abdominal discomfort
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- General symptoms such as fatigue or weakness.
How to Diagnose the Heart Attack
The identification of possible heart attack is based on clinical diagnosis. Other medical tests that may be done to cure heart attack are ECG, chest X-ray, angiography and EKG. A heart attack occurs when the heart cannot get enough oxygen due to an obstruction in blood flow. The obstruction may be in any heart area, but it often occurs in the coronary arteries. The identification of possible heart attack is based on clinical diagnosis. A heart attack may be diagnosed by listening for a heart murmur, checking for a fever, or an ECG.
The best way to diagnose a heart attack is to have an ECG, which can show signs of heart attack, such as prolonged QTc interval, T wave inversion, ST-segment elevation, or other signs. Once diagnosed, people can expect to have an echocardiogram, chest X-ray, coronary angiography, or coronary CT scan to determine the location of the blockage. Doctors will usually choose angioplasty or stenting to repair the blockage and test the patient’s blood to diagnose a heart attack for substances that indicate a heart attack. These substances may include troponin and high-sensitivity CRP. In other circumstances, the clot may be too small to be detected by these techniques.
A flexible tube (catheter) is inserted into a blood vessel near the heart and passed through your arteries to your heart muscle to check and remove the blood clot.
Thallium Stress Test
A radioactive compound called thallium is injected into your blood. The radioactive compound carries blood to the heart muscle and gives off signals recorded by a special camera.
It creates images of your heart and chest in digital form and is done with the help of X-rays.
Cardiac MRI uses a magnetic field and waves to create your heart and chest images. In these tests, you lie down on a table that slides inside an MRI machine used to estimate the damage to the heart from heart attacks and diagnose heart problems.
ECG Stress Test
The ECG is a device that measures the electrical activity of the heart. It is typically used to diagnose cardiac or heart conditions, including identifying abnormal heart rhythms or underlying heart disease. The ECG is a test that uses an electrical current to measure the heart’s electrical activity and detect irregularities in the heart’s rhythm by looking for changes in the shape and size of the heart’s waves. This test is often done in specialized laboratories or hospitals and is not typically available in small hospitals or doctors’ offices. The ECG is a device that measures the heart’s electrical activity. It is typically used to diagnose cardiac or heart conditions, including identifying abnormal heart rhythms or underlying heart disease.
There are some enzymes and protein that release in blood after a heart attack and same can be diagnosed by blood test.
Risk Factors for Heart Attack
A heart attack is a life-threatening emergency when a clot blocks blood flow to the heart. The risk of heart attack is highest for people who have other heart diseases, smoke cigarettes, are overweight, or have diabetes. Heart attacks can be fatal or non-fatal. 1/3 of people die within the first hour of a heart attack. 1/2 of survivors do not have a permanent disability. Permanent disability can happen, but it is rare. Risk factors for heart attack are high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, smoking, physical inactivity, obesity, stress, and anxiety. If you are experiencing any of these risk factors, it’s important to see your physician immediately.
Risk Factors for Women
Heart disease is the number one killer in America, but experts believe that heart disease is the leading cause of death among women. Women are about twice as likely to have a heart attack as they are to have a stroke. Cardiologists are creating gender-specific clinical trials to assess better the differences in heart disease for males and females. Heart disease is more common among women who are obese, have high blood pressure, have high cholesterol, have diabetes, are on birth control, have high levels of stress, are middle-aged women, or smoke cigarettes. Women are about twice as likely to experience a heart attack as they are to experience a stroke.
The Arteries that Supply the Heart
A heart attack occurs when the flow of oxygenated blood to the heart is interrupted, and this can happen because of a clot or plaque buildup in one of the coronary arteries. A heart attack is a sudden event. The first symptom is severe chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and sweating. There is a difference between cardiac arrest and heart attack. It occurs when the heart malfunctions and rhythms are no longer detectable. There are no warning signs or symptoms before cardiac arrest. The arteries that supply the heart are the left anterior descending artery (LAD), the left circumflex artery (LCX), and the right coronary artery (RCA).
Causes of Heart Attack
A heart attack occurs when one or more arteries supplying your heart with blood are blocked. This blockage forms a blood clot, which reduces the flow of oxygen-carrying blood to the heart muscle. In addition, heart attacks are serious because the heart muscle has no oxygen, so areas of the heart can be damaged permanently. Some causes of a heart attack include: -smoking -high cholesterol -obesity -high blood pressure -physical inactivity -diabetes -family history.
How to Prevent a Heart Attack
A heart attack can often be prevented or at least delayed. However, many different things can cause a heart attack. It is important to eat healthily and exercise regularly, and it will help reduce the risk of a person having a heart attack. When it comes to cholesterol, it is important to keep the level below 200. It is important to keep 140/80 or lower for blood pressure.
Treatments for Heart Attacks
Heart attack is caused when blood flow to the heart is interrupted or blocked. The heart does not get the blood it needs to pump when this happens. If this goes untreated, heart function can be reduced or completely stopped. Heart Attack is treated by following ways:
Treatment by Medicine
- Aspirin. A healthcare person might give you aspirin immediately. Aspirin reduces blood clotting so helping maintain blood flow through a c narrowed artery.
- Antithrombotic. These drugs can help dissolve a blood clot that’s blocking blood flow to your heart. The earlier you receive an antithrombotic drug after a heart attack, have the chance to have less heart damage.
- Antiplatelet platelet aggregation inhibitors to help prevent new clots and keep existing clots from getting bigger.
- Beta-blockers decrease blood pressure, slow your heartbeat, and relax the heart.
- Blood Thinners. You’ll likely be given other medications, such as heparin, by an injection.
- Pain killers. You might be given a pain killer, such as morphine.
- Vessels Dilators improve blood flow to the heart by dilating the blood vessels. Such as nitroglycerine.
Surgical Treatments and others
Coronary angioplasty and stenting coronary angioplasty and stenting open narrowed or clogged coronary arteries. Help reduce the amount of heart muscle damage. In this procedure, a blocked artery is made to open with a balloon (angioplasty), and a small, spring type wire called a stent.
CABG (Coronary Artery Bypass Graft)
The way to treat the blocked or narrowed arteries is to bypass the blocked portion of the coronary artery with a piece of a good blood vessel from your body. Blood vessels, or grafts, used for the bypass procedure may be pieces of a vein from your leg or arm or an artery in your chest.
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