A heart attack is when blood flow into the heart gets restricted. The blockage can be caused by a build-up of cholesterol, fats, and other elements that create plaques in the arteries that supply the coronary arteries (coronary arterial arteries).
Sometimes, plaques can break and create an encapsulation that blocks blood flow. The blood flow that is interrupted can be destructive or damage to a portion of the muscle of your heart.
An attack on the heart, also known as myocardial infarction, could be fatal, however, treatment has improved significantly in recent years. It’s essential to seek medical assistance in an emergency when you suspect that you could be suffering from an attack on your heart.
Common heart attack symptoms and signs are:
- A tightness, pressure, or a squeezing pain in your arms or chest which may extend into your jaw, neck, or your back
- Heartburn, nausea, indigestion or abdominal pain
- Breathing problems
- Cold sweat
- Sudden dizziness or lightheadedness
Heart attack symptoms vary
It is not the case that all patients who have heart attacks share the same symptoms or the same degree of pain. Some suffer from moderate pain, while others experience more intense discomfort. Some sufferers do not have any signs. Others, for instance, the first indication might be a sudden heart attack. The more symptoms and signs you notice, the higher your likelihood of experiencing heart attacks.
Heart attacks can strike at a moment’s notice, however many notice warning signs and symptoms in the hours, days, or weeks ahead of. The first warning sign could be persistent chest tension or pain (angina) which is triggered due to activity and eased through relaxation. Angina can be caused due to a brief reduction of blood circulation to the heart.
When should you seem medical help?
Act immediately. Many people put off action because they aren’t aware of the signs and symptoms that are important. Follow these steps:
- Contact emergency medical assistance. If you suspect that you’re experiencing heart attacks Do not hesitate. Call your emergency contact number local to you. If you aren’t connected to medical emergency services then ask someone else to take you to the closest hospital.Only drive yourself if you have no alternative. Because your condition may worsen by driving yourself, you put yourself and other people at risk.
- You should take nitroglycerin as it is prescribed by a physician. Take it as advised while you wait for emergency help.
- Aspirin is taken in the event that it is you are advised to. Taking aspirin during an attack on your heart could help reduce heart-related damage and help stop blood from getting clotting.Aspirin is known to be a drug that interacts with other medicines but, you shouldn’t use aspirin unless you’re a medical professional or doctor would recommend it.
What should you do if observe someone experiencing an attack on their heart?
If you notice someone who’s unconscious, and you suspect they’re suffering from a heart attack, immediately contact emergency medical assistance. You should also determine if the person is breathing and is able to feel an emitted pulse. If the person’s breathing isn’t there or you can’t detect an indication of a pulse, only then is it time to begin CPR.
Press hard and quickly on the chest of the individual with a fast pace between 100 and 120 compressions per minute.
If you’ve never been properly trained, you won’t be able to. Doctors recommend only chest compressions. Doctors recommend only chest. If you’ve had training in CPR. You can continue to open your airway and then rescue breathing.
A heart attack can occur whenever one coronary artery is blocked. As time passes, a build-up of fatty deposits, such as cholesterol, forms substances known as plaques. These can cause narrowing of your arterial arteries (atherosclerosis). This condition, known as coronary artery disease, is the cause of the majority of heart attacks.
In the course of a heart attack, plaques can break and leak some substances, including cholesterol in the bloodstream. A blood clot develops near the point of rupture. If the clot is very large it could hinder the circulation of blood through the coronary artery and deprive the heart’s tissues of oxygen as well as nutrients (ischemia).
It is possible to have either a partial or complete obstruction of the coronary artery.
- A complete blockage indicates that you’ve suffered an ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).
- A partial blockage indicates that you’ve suffered from an incident of myocardial infarction not involving ST elevation (NSTEMI).
Treatment and diagnosis may differ depending on the kind of disease you’ve experienced.
Another reason for an attack on the heart is a spasm in the coronary artery which stops blood flow to a portion of the muscle of your heart. Smoking cigarettes and using illegal drugs, like cocaine, may trigger an unavoidable spasm.
The COVID-19 infection can affect your heart in ways that could lead to an attack on your heart.
Certain elements cause the undesirable accumulation of fat deposits (atherosclerosis) which narrows the blood vessels all over your body. You can reduce or eliminate certain risk factors and reduce your chance of having an initial or a subsequent heart attack.
Heart attack risk factors include:
- age. Men age 45 or more and women 55 and over have a higher chance to suffer an attack on their heart than younger women and men.
- Smoking tobacco. This includes smoking or exposure to long-term exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Blood pressure that is high. Over time, high blood pressure may cause damage to the arteries that connect to your heart. The presence of high blood pressure alongside other medical ailments, like overweight, high cholesterol, or diabetes, increases your risk for heart attack even more.
- Blood cholesterol levels are high levels or triglycerides. A high level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) is more likely to reduce the size of arteries. A high amount of triglycerides, which is a kind of blood fat linked to your diet, can also increase the likelihood of having an attack on your heart. However, a higher level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (“good” cholesterol) could reduce your risk.
- Obesity. Obesity is linked to high levels of blood cholesterol, higher triglyceride levels, elevated blood pressure, and diabetes. Losing just 10% percent of body fat could reduce the chance.
- Diabetic. Not producing enough of a hormone released by the pancreas (insulin) or not responding properly to insulin can cause your blood sugar levels to increase and increase the risk of having heart attacks.
- metabolic syndrome. This syndrome occurs when you’re overweight as well as high blood pressure and excessive blood sugar. Being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome increases your risk of being twice as likely to suffer from heart disease as compared to those who aren’t suffering from it.
- A family history of a heart attack. If your siblings parents, grandparents, or parents have suffered heart attacks in the early years (by the age of 55 for males, and the age of 65 for females) then you could be more at risk.
- Inactivity and lack of physical activities. Being inactive contributes to high levels of blood cholesterol and weight gain. People who exercise regularly enjoy healthier hearts, and reduced blood pressure.
- The stress response. You might respond to stress in ways that could increase your risk of having a heart attack.
- Illicit drug use. The use of stimulants like amphetamines or cocaine could cause spasms in your coronary arteries which can result in an attack on your heart.
- Preeclampsia is a preeminent condition. This condition causes high blood pressure in pregnancy and raises the risk of developing heart disease.
- An autoimmune disorder. Having a condition such as rheumatoid or lupus may increase your risk of suffering a heart attack.
The cause of complications is usually the damage to your heart by the course of a heart attack. This can result in:
- Anomaly in heartbeats (arrhythmias). Electrical “short circuits” can develop which can cause irregular heart rhythms. Some of which are serious and can lead to death.
- Heart Failure. A heart attack can cause so much damage to cardiac tissue, that your heart muscle isn’t able to supply enough blood to your heart. Heart failure may be temporary or an ongoing problem that is caused by massive and lasting damage to the heart.
- The sudden heart attack. Without warning, your heart will stop due to an electrical issue that triggers an abnormal heart beat (arrhythmia). Heart attacks increase the chance of sudden cardiac arrest that can lead to death if you don’t receive immediate intervention.
It’s never too late to start taking steps to avoid a heart attack — even if been through one. Here are some ways to avoid heart attacks.
- Medicines. Taking medications can lower your chance of another heart attack, and can help your heart function more effectively. Keep taking the medications your doctor has prescribed and ask your physician what frequency you should be checked.
- Lifestyle elements. You know the routine to maintain the weight of a healthy person with healthy eating habits do not smoke and exercise regularly, control anxiety and other conditions that could lead to an attack on the heart including high blood pressure as well as high cholesterol and diabetes.
Ideally, your physician will be able to check you on a regular basis during physical examinations for any risk factors that may result in an attack on your heart.
If you’re on an emergency plan to treat the symptoms of a heart attack you’ll be asked to describe the symptoms you’re experiencing and will have your pulse, blood pressure, and temperature measured. You’ll be hooked up to the heart monitor and will undergo tests to determine if you’re experiencing an attack of the heart.
Tests for diagnosing heart attacks include:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG). The first test to detect the presence of a heart attack records electrical signals as they move through the heart. The patches of sticky material (electrodes) are connected to your chest and your limbs. Signals are recorded in waves that are displayed on a screen and printed out on paper. Since injured heart muscles don’t conduct electrical impulses as it should, the ECG could be a sign the heart attack has taken place or is currently taking place.
- The blood tests. Certain heart proteins slowly enter your blood following damage to your heart due to an attack on the heart. The emergency room doctor will take samples of your blood to test for the proteins or enzymes.
If you’ve experienced or are suffering from heart attacks, your doctor will immediately take action to treat the condition. It is possible that you will also undergo these additional tests.
- Chest CT scan. An X-ray image of your chest lets your doctor check the heart’s size as well as its blood vessels, and also to check for liquid in your lungs.
- Echocardiogram. Sound waves (ultrasound) generate images of the heart’s movement. The doctor may use this test to determine if the valves and chambers of your heart are sending the blood around your body. Echocardiograms can aid in determining the areas of your heart is damaged.
- coronary catheterization (angiogram). A liquid dye is injected into the coronary arteries through an extremely long and slim tube (catheter) which is carried through an artery generally located in your groin or leg and then to the arteries of your heart. The dye can make the arteries appear on X-rays, revealing areas that are blocked.
- Cardiac CT or MRI. These tests produce images of your chest and heart. Cardiac CT. scans employ the X-ray. Cardiac MRI makes use of a magnetic field as well as radio waves to make images of the heart. In both tests, you sit on a table that is positioned inside a tube-like machine. They can both be used to determine the severity of heart conditions, as well as the severity of damage caused by heart attacks.
Treatment for heart attack in the hospital
Every minute following an attack on the heart tissue is damaged or is killed. In the short term, restoring blood flow can help to prevent damage to the heart.
The medications to treat heart attacks could include:
- Aspirin. The 911 operator might advise the person to consume aspirin or emergency medical personnel could offer aspirin right away. Aspirin can reduce blood clotting, which helps to maintain blood flow in an artery that has narrowed.
- The thrombolytics are HTML0. These drugs, known as clot busters, assist in dissolving a blood clot hindering the flow of blood to your heart. The earlier you are given the thrombolytic drugs following an attack on your heart more likely you’ll be able to survive and suffer less damage to your heart.
- Agents to stop platelet aggregation. Emergency room doctors might prescribe other medications called platelet aggregation inhibitors. These drugs aid in preventing the formation of new clots and stop existing clots from becoming bigger.
- Other blood thinners. You’ll likely be given other drugs like heparin in order to keep your blood from becoming “sticky” and less likely to develop blood clots. Heparin is administered via IV or via injection into your skin.
- Pain relief drugs. You might be offered a pain relief medication like morphine.
- Nitroglycerin. This medication, which is used to alleviate pain in the chest (angina) is able to increase the flow of blood to the heart by enlarging (dilating) blood vessels.
- Beta blockers. These medications help relax your heart muscle, reduce your heart rate and reduce blood pressure, which makes your heart’s work easier. Beta blockers reduce the damage to your heart muscle and help prevent heart attacks from happening in the future.
- ACES inhibitors. These drugs lower blood pressure and ease the stress on the heart.
- Statins. These drugs help lower cholesterol levels in your blood.
Other and surgical procedures
In addition to medication, You may also undergo one of these treatments to cure your heart attack
- The procedure of coronary angioplasty as well as stenting. In this procedure known by the name percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) doctors direct the lengthy, thin tubing (catheter) by an artery that runs through your wrist or groin to a blocked artery within your heart. If you’ve suffered a heart attack it is typically carried out immediately following a cardiac catheterization, which is a procedure to detect obstructions. The catheter comes with a specific balloon which, after being in place, is inflated to allow the opening of the blocked coronary artery. A stent made of metal usually is inserted into the artery in order to keep it open for a long time to restore coronary circulation. Most often, you will receive an artery stent that is coated in a slower-releasing medicine to keep your blood vessel open¹.
- Coronary bypass surgery for arteries. In some cases, doctors will do emergency bypass surgery during the moment of an attack on the heart. If you are able you may undergo bypass procedures after the heart had had time approximately 3-7 days to recover from your heart attack.The bypass surgery involves sewn arteries or veins into place over a narrowed or blocked coronary artery to allow circulation of blood through the coronary artery to bypass the narrowed part.You’ll probably be there for a few days until the heart’s blood supply is restored and your health is stable.
Rehabilitation of the heart
Many hospitals offer programs that can begin when you’re in the hospital and last for a few several weeks or months following your return to home. Rehabilitation programs for cardiac patients generally focus on four major areas: medications change in lifestyle emotional issues, and gradual return to a normal routine.
It’s vital to be involved within this program. Patients who undergo cardiac rehabilitation following a heart attack tend to have longer lives and are less likely to experience an additional heart attack or have complications due to your heart attack. If you are not advised while you are hospitalized, talk to your physician about it.
Lifestyle and home solutions to home
To better the health of your heart, you should follow these steps:
- Don’t smoke. The most important step you can take to improve the health of your heart is to avoid smoking. Additionally, stay away from smoking secondhand. If you’re looking to quit smoking, talk to your doctor for advice.
- Monitor your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. If one or both of them are elevated your doctor will recommend modifications to your diet as well as medication. Discuss with your doctor the frequency you should keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked.
- Make sure you have regular medical checks. Some of the most significant risk factors for a heart attack are high blood cholesterol high blood pressure, diabetes and high blood pressure do not cause symptoms in the early stages. The doctor can check for these ailments and assist you in managing them in the event of need.
- exercise. Regular exercise helps to improve the function of your heart muscles following a heart attack and can help prevent an attack on the heart. At minimum 150 mins of moderate aerobic exercise and 75 minutes vigorous aerobics every week, or an equal amount of vigorous and moderate activity.
- Maintain the weight you are at. Excess weight strains your heart and may contribute to high cholesterol levels, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
- A heart-healthy diet is recommended. Saturated fat, trans fats, cholesterol, and trans fats in your diet could cause narrowing of the arteries leading to your heart and excessive salt intake can increase blood pressure. A heart-healthy diet includes protein sources that are lean, like beans and fish as well as fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains.
- manage the disease. Regular exercise, eating healthy, and losing weight are all ways to maintain the blood sugar level at healthy levels. Many individuals also require medications to control their diabetes.
- Manage anxiety. Reduce stress in your day-to-day routine. Think about your work habits and discover methods to reduce or handle stress-inducing events in your life.
- Do not drink or limit the consumption of alcohol. If you choose to drink alcohol, make sure you do it in moderate amounts. For adults who are healthy, this is one drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for males.
Helping to cope and providing support
Heart attacks can be terrifying, and you may be wondering how it will affect your life, and if you’ll experience another.
Anger, fear, guilt, and depression are common following an incident of heart. Talking about these issues in your physician, relative or a trusted person you trust could help. You could also consider speaking with an expert in mental health or joining an organization for support.
It is important to report any symptoms or signs that suggest depression to your physician. The cardiac rehabilitation program can be beneficial in treating depression following an attack on the heart.
Sex after an attack on the heart
There are some who worry about having a sex session after a heart attack, but many people are able to safely go back to sexual activity following the recovery. The time you can return to sexual activities will depend on your physical and mental health and previous sexual activities. Consult your physician to determine if you are able to go out.
Certain heart medications can alter sexual activity. If you’re experiencing issues with your sexual function discuss it with your doctor.