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Heart attack

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A lack of blood supply causes an injury to the heart muscle and creates a heart attack, and in many cases this proves to be a fatal event. Heart attacks are often the result of a blood clot that can not pass through the arteries of the heart, creating a blockage that prevents blood from flowing into the heart muscle. The injury can range from mild to severe, and sometimes proves fatal.

HEART ATTACK SYMPTOMS

More and more patients are surviving heart attacks due to increased public awareness, technological advancements, and medical accuracy. Heart attacks were once considered over 80% fatal.

Not all heart attacks are complete with drama and chest grabbing and the way they are portrayed in the media. Many heart attacks happen without symptoms. Other heart attacks may produce symptoms such as chest pain, chest pressure, lightheadedness, fainting, pain and pressure that extend through the shoulder, arms, back, teeth, and jaw, prolonged periods of pain in the abdomen, periods of chest pain that increase in severity and longevity, sweating, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and a sense of doom or that something is very wrong. Most patients who are about to experience a heart attack feel generally ill for minutes, hours, or even days beforehand.

HEART ATTACK CAUSES

The heart is responsible for pumping about 2,000 gallons of blood through the body. The blood travels through the body and delivers oxygen to throughout and returns to pick up more oxygenated blood. If the arteries or blood vessels become constricted or blocked by a blood clot, the blood can no longer pass through freely to the heart. The lack of blood to the heart causes injury to the heart cells, and the patient has a heart attack. In medical terms, this is known as a myocardial infarction. The constriction of blood vessels can be caused by narrowing of the blood vessels via the build up of plaque along the inner side of the blood vessels. In some instances, it can also be caused by the build of cholesterol which is deposited inside the blood vessel.
Heart attack
Image: Heart attack

HEART ATTACK RISK FACTOR

Risk factors for heart attacks include the use of tobacco products such as cigarettes and cigars, high blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol in the blood, high levels of triglycerides (a blood fat related to dietary intake) as well as alcohol usage, diabetes, obesity, lack of physical exercise, stress, and elevated levels of homocysteine, C reactive protein, and fibrinogen. Nearly all risk factors for heart attacks are controllable factors, which mean patients can intervene before a heart attack occurs. However, patients without any risk factors have been known to have heart attacks as well.

Screening for risk factors concerning heart attacks is common during every routine physical examination. If a patient suspects he or she is having a heart attack, they should seek immediate medical attention. In a hospital setting, tests such as electrocardiograms and blood tests can help determine if a heart attack is happening or has recently occurred. Coronary catheterizations, imaging techniques, and nuclear scans can determine how severe the heart attack may have been and whether there was any damage done to the heart. In some cases, if the heart was forced to go without blood for a long period of time, the cells die and form scar tissue on the heart. The scar tissue creates more difficulty for the heart to pump blood.

HEART ATTACK TREATMENT

Abnormal heart rhythms, heart tissue scarring, valve irregularities, ruptured heart tissue, and heart failure can all be common complications when recovering from a heart attack. Heart attack damage can be permanent, and can lead to lifestyle difficulties, repeated heart attacks, and death.


It is commonly known that administering aspirin in the correct dosage during a heart attack can help alleviate the heart attack and reduce the chances for symptoms. However, it is important that the correct dosage is administered. Heart therapies can often include aspirin to prevent secondary heart attacks. Nitroglycerin is also a common method of reducing a heart attack and the damage that it can cause. In some cases, surgical procedures are common treatments where appropriate. Surgical procedures such as angioplasty and bypass surgery alter the way the heart is configured and can eliminate the need for a part of the heart which has excessive damaged tissue.

HEART ATTACK PREVENTION

Patients recovering from a heart attack often tend to deal with feeling of guilt and anger as well as depression. This is normal and should be dealt with as soon as possible, professionally if necessary. Patients recovering from heart attacks are often concerned about physical activity as well as sexual intercourse. Most patients can return to sexual intercourse as they feel ready while other forms of physical activity may be resumed with the physician’s permission.
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