Heart Attack

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Remedies

Heart Attack Treatment Remedies


The contents of this app are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information provided should not be considered as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.

What is a Heart Attack?

In the presence of a coronary artery disease, coronary arteries constrict (narrow) and interfere with the normal blood supply.

Proteins, calcium, fatty matter, or inflammatory cells will then accumulate right within those arteries leading to formation of different sizes of plaque.

In most cases, the plaque deposits usually become soft inside and hard on the outer side.

It is the responsibility of the coronary arteries to furnish the heart with vital blood supply.

Blood supply could be blocked by a blood clot.

Due to the hardening of the plaque on the outside, rapture occurs, and the area is immediately invaded with platelets leading to formation of a blood clot.

If the clot completely shuts off the artery, a heart attack occurs.

Plaque usually consists of cholesterol (the fatty material).

The extent of damage to the patient’s heart muscle varies with the size of heart section starved of oxygenated blood and the time lapse between injury and treatment.

It is important to note that just like other wounds, a heart's wound is expected to heal and form a scar.

Heart attacks often require emergency medical treatment. Studies have shown that men stand a higher chance of suffering heart attacks than women.

Some complications of heart attacks could be life-threatening. Such complications include arrhythmia, cardiogenic shock, and heart rapture.

Arrhythmia refers to a condition where a patient registers an abnormal heartbeat.

Cardiogenic shock is where the patient’s heart muscles are damaged during an attack.

Heart rapture on the other hand involves the splitting apart of heart muscles, valves, and walls.

Heart Attack Symptoms

Upper body discomfort is manifested as pain in the back, arm, jaw, neck, shoulders, or sometimes the upper part of your stomach.

Shortness of breath may accompany chest discomfort or occur alone. This is experienced when the patient is taking some rest or some physical activity.

Some patients diagnosed with heart attack report cold sweats as well as some feeling of tiredness which may last for a few days. This is a common symptom reported by women with a heart attack.

Nausea and vomiting are also witnessed but on rare occasions.

One may also experience sudden dizziness and light-headedness.

In some cases, patients with heart attack reported irregular heartbeats (rapid heartbeats).

During a heart attack, the symptoms may last for 30 minutes or take even longer. It is also important to note that taking a rest does not dampen the symptoms.

In a few cases of those diagnosed with heart attack, symptoms were not evident. This is known as silent myocardial infarction.

A silent myocardial infarction is common in persons diagnosed with diabetes.

Heart Attack Causes

The leading cause of heart attacks is the Coronary heart disease (CHD).

CHD is characterized by the clogging of the coronary arteries by plaques (cholesterol deposits).

In the course of a heart attack, the plaques burst (rapture) which leads to formation of a blood clot at the point of rapture. It is this clot that is responsible for blocking the arteries. This triggers a heart attack.

Other risk factors for Coronary heart disease (CHD) and heart attacks include smoking and high blood pressure.

Studies indicate that a significant portion of carbon monoxide from the smoke of a cigarette and nicotine strain the heart by making it to work faster than normal.

Smoking also increases the risk of blood clots which are blamed for causing Coronary heart disease (CHD).

It is also believed that certain chemicals in the cigarette smoke are responsible for the damage witnessed on the lining of coronary arteries. This increases the rate of deposit build-up in the arteries (furring of arteries).

Studies have also revealed that smoking heightens your risk of suffering from hear diseases by about 24 percent.

Diets full of saturated fat increases your blood’s cholesterol level. High cholesterol puts you at a high risk of developing heart attacks and CHD.

Some foods are known to reduce cholesterol levels. A good example of such foods is an oily fish.

Coronary arteries can also be damaged by heightened levels of blood sugar often linked with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This also increases the risk of developing CHD.

Failure to take up exercises puts you at a higher risk of being obese and developing hypertension, which are all risk factors for CHD and imminent heart attacks.

Just like a lack of exercise, alcohol abuse increases your risk of developing high blood pressure which exposes you to CHD.

Excessive alcohol consumption may also lead to high blood cholesterol levels, making you susceptible to CHD.

A majority of heavy alcohol drinkers will also smoke, exercise less, and partake in unhealthy diet. This exposes them to CHD and heart attacks.

Some of the persons diagnosed with a heart attack had a history of heart diseases. Those with a family history of angina, strokes, or heart attack are at a higher risk of heart attacks compared to those with no history of the same.

Research has also linked some cases of heart attacks to air pollution.

Rare causes of heart attacks include drugs misuse, hypoxia, and aneurysm.

Stimulants like cocaine, methamphetamines, and amphetamines may make the coronary arteries to constrict, reducing blood supply, and eventually spark off a heart attack.

Heart attacks associated with abuse of cocaine remains the most prominent reason for deaths witnessed in young people.

Lack of oxygen or its deficiency in blood (hypoxia) may trigger off a heart attack. The drop in oxygen levels could be as a result of improper lung functioning or poisoning by carbon monoxide.

In case of hypoxia, the heart is supplied with un-oxygenated blood. This will damage your heart muscles and cause a heart attack.

Aneurysm refers to weaknesses witnessed in the walls of blood vessels. If the wall becomes very weak, it raptures under the blood pressure (force of blood) triggering off a heart attack.

Heart Attack Diagnosis

If your doctor suspects any heart attack, he will order that you be immediately admitted to the hospital. You will be admitted at ACCU-an acute cardiac care unit.

Your doctor will then carry out an electrocardiogram (ECG) test within the first 10 minutes of admission to help him understand how your heart is functioning.

This test is used by your doctor to measure the heart’s electrical activity.

Your heart produces electrical signals at every single instance of a heartbeat. The ECG machine then records the captured signals on some screen or graph allowing the doctor time to understand the functionality of your heart.

The ECG test is not painful and only lasts a few minutes (at most 5 minutes). During this test, the doctor will attach electrodes to his patient’s arms, legs, or chest.

The wires originating from the electrodes are then linked with the ECG machine to record the impulses.

With the ECG test, your doctor confirms the exact diagnosis of your condition and determines the nature of the heart attack.

Your doctor may also perform other tests in an effort to discover related complications.

Any damage inflicted to your heart results in the leakage of certain proteins into one’s blood.

Your doctor may order for blood tests to test if the cardiac markers (heart proteins) leaked into the patient’s blood. Blood samples will be taken and protein levels measured.

Blood tests will make it possible for your doctor to assess the extent of damage to your heart and in determining response to treatment.

In cases where the doctor is uncertain about his diagnosis, he may order for a chest X-ray to find out other possible triggers for your symptoms.

For instance, cases of pneumothorax can be discovered using a chest X-ray. Any other complications arising from your condition including pulmonary oedema can be tracked using a chest X-ray.

Your doctor may also make use of an echocardiogram to identify the specific areas of the heart that have suffered damage and the extent of the damage.

An echocardiogram refers to an ultrasound scan that employs sound waves to come up with a picture that captures the internal sections of the heart.

The doctor may also carry out coronary angiography to determine if indeed a blockage exists in the coronary artery and the location of blockage.

Heart Attack Treatment

The various treatment options available for heart attack depend on the severity of the attack and damage to the heart.

The hospital’s emergency medical personnel may administer aspirin to stop blood clotting and to maintain blood supply through a constricted artery.

Unlike aspirins, superaspirins are administered by doctors in the emergency room to prevent formation of new blood clots. Such medications include platelet aggregation inhibitors and clopidogrel (Plavix).

Persons with heart attacks are also treated with heparin (blood thinning medication) to prevent formation of any more blood clots.

Heparin may be administered an injection or intravenously after an attack.

For patients with chest pain, pain relievers such as morphine may recommended by doctors to reduce patient discomfort.

Nitroglycerin is another medication that your doctor may suggest as a treatment option for chest pain (angina).

Nitroglycerin works by temporarily opening up arterial blood vessels to increase blood flow to your heart.

Beta blockers are also used to treat patients diagnosed with heart attacks for heart muscle relaxation.

Beta blockers work by slowing the patient’s heartbeat and decreasing his blood pressure. These drugs are effective at minimizing damage to heart muscles and preventing subsequent attacks.

Doctors also suggest the use of ACE inhibitors. These drugs work by reducing the patient’s blood pressure and stress on his heart.

Some cholesterol lowering drugs such as satins may also be recommended to lower blood cholesterol levels.

The doctor may also choose to perform surgery and other procedures.

Doctors also suggest Coronary artery bypass surgery for patients diagnosed with heart attacks.

During bypass surgery, the doctor sews up arteries or veins at a point beyond the point of rapture restoring blood supply to your heart.

Heart Attack Prevention

The most common and effective method suggested for prevention of heart attacks is lifestyle changes.

Doctors recommend eating a healthy diet low in fat as one of the ways of preventing a heart attack.

Eating an unhealthy diet that is high in fat may lead to hardening of coronary arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis increases the risk of developing CHD which is responsible for most cases of heart attacks.

A high intake of low-density lipoprotein should be avoided. Low-density lipoprotein comprise of huge fat and only tiny amounts of protein. This form of cholesterol may block your arteries increasing your risk of developing CHD and a heart attack.

High-density lipoprotein on the other hand should be more in your diet. This kind of cholesterol is high on protein and low on fat.

High-density lipoprotein is referred to as good cholesterol because it limits build-up of deposits in your coronary arteries.

You are also encouraged to eat tiny amounts of unsaturated fats to boost good cholesterol levels. Such foods include, oily fish, avocados, sunflower, olive oil, nuts, and seeds.

Avoid alcohol and smoking as well.

Heart Attack Statistics & Facts

It is estimated that over 340,000 people from Australia alone have reported a heart attack at one point in their life.

Each and every year, at least 56,000 Australians are diagnosed with a heart attack.

In Australia, heart attack lead to 9,286 deaths in the year 2012, this translates to 25 deaths every day.

Heart attack is also known as myocardial infarction.

The symptoms of heart attack vary from one patient to another; they may be sudden or severe depending on the situation.

Heart Attack Treatment Remedies plus

The contents of this app are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information provided should not be considered as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.

What is a Heart Attack?

A heart attack occurs because a specific heart muscle is starved of oxygen leading to death of muscle cells and the eventual permanent damage to the heart muscle.

Occasionally, a heart attack may also be triggered off by some by spasm of the coronary artery. In this case, the arteries suddenly constrict and cause ischemia (restricted blood flow to heart muscles).

When blood flow to some part of the heart muscle is blocked for a prolonged period of time, the part dies or is severely damaged.

The heart being a muscle requires a constant blood supply to stay healthy. Oxygen-rich blood is essential for the life of every section of heart muscles.

A heart attack, which is also known as myocardial infarction (MI), often occurs as a result of lasting damage to your heart muscle.

Hearth Attack Symptoms

The most prominent symptoms of a heart attack reported in men and women include chest pain, upper body discomfort, and shortness of breath.

Chest pain or chest discomfort is characterized by pain the centre of your chest or in the left side. The pain could be registered as indigestion, heartburn, or some fullness in the chest.

Angina is the chest pain (discomfort) that a person with a heart attack complains about in the centre of his or her chest.

Angina manifests itself as aching, tightness, pressure, heaviness, fullness, burning, squeezing, or numbness feeling that may last a few minutes.

Some patients diagnosed with the condition also complained of a chocking feeling.

Heart Attack Causes

The major cause of heart attacks is interruption of oxygenated blood supply to the heart. Just like other organs and body tissues, the heart relies on a steady blood flow to survive.

Without this critical blood flow to the heart, heart muscles are damaged, and if not treated on time, permanent damage is witnessed.

Permanent damage to a large portion of your heart results to a cardiac arrest (because the heart no longer beats) and eventually leads to death.

Hypertension (high blood pressure) makes your coronary arteries weak, which increases their predisposition to coronary heart disease (CHD) and an imminent heart attack.

Persons considered to be obese or overweight are at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and tend to have high cholesterol levels. All these are but risk factors that may lead to a heart attack.

Heart Attack Treatment

The primary method of forestalling any other damage to the heart is to restore supply of blood to the affected section of the heart.

Your doctor may recommend a number of medications to treat a heart attack including aspirin, thrombolytics, superaspirins and many others.

Doctors may also recommend use of thrombolytics (also known as clotbusters) to dissolve blood clots believed to be clogging a coronary artery.

Thombolytics are effective when administered at an early point in time when the clot just appears. Early treatment with this medication increases your chances of survival and minimizes damage to the heart muscles.

The doctor may carry out Coronary angioplasty and stenting to open up clogged coronary arteries. This promotes free flow of blood to the heart.

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