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Heart Attack: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Feb 9, 2017

   4 min     


What is a Heart Attack?

A heart attack also called a myocardial infarction is a condition that occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked. The blockage of an artery is usually caused by a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances which form a plaque.

The plaque gradually breaks away and forms a blood clot. 

Symptoms of Heart Attack

The common signs and symptoms of Heart Attack are:

  • Fatigue

  • Shortness of Breath

  • Cold sweat

  • Nausea

  • Indigestion

  • Heartburn

  • Aching sensation in chest or arms

  • Dizziness

Causes and risk factor of Heart Attack

A heart attack is caused due to the blockage of coronary arteries and gradually a coronary artery narrow because of the buildup of various substances. This condition is called coronary heart disease which results in most heart attacks.

There are certain risk factors that result in the unwanted buildup of fatty deposits that narrow arteries throughout the body. 

Heart attack risk factor include:

  • Age

  • Tobacco

  • High blood pressure

  • High blood cholesterol

  • Obesity

  • Diabetes

  • Metabolic syndrome

  • Family history of heart attack

  • Lack of physical activity

  • Stress

Diagnosis of Heart Attack

Generally, the doctor screens the patient during regular physical exams for heart attack risk factors.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack, then the doctor will check for your blood pressure, pulse and temperature. The doctor will order a few tests:

Electrocardiogram- It is done to diagnose the electrical activity of the heart via electrodes attached to your skin. 

Blood Tests- Certain heart proteins slowly leak into the blood after a heart attack. That is why the blood sample is taken to test for the presence of these enzymes.

Treatment of Heart Attack

Each minute after a heart attack is crucial as more heart tissue dies. Restoring blood flow quickly helps prevent heart damage.

Certain medicines are given to treat a heart attack.

Surgeries to Treat a Heart Attack

Coronary Angioplasty and stenting

This procedure is also known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). In this procedure, the doctor inserts a long, thin tube that is passed through an artery to a blocked artery in the heart. The tube has a special balloon that is inflated to open a blocked coronary artery.

Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery

In some cases, the doctor performs emergency bypass surgery at the time of the heart attack. Bypass surgery includes sewing veins or arteries in place beyond a blocked or narrowed coronary artery. 

Prevention of Heart Attack

There are steps to prevent a heart attack even if you have already had one. The ways to prevent a heart attack are:

Medications: Taking medications can reduce the risk of a subsequent heart attack and help your damaged heart function better.

Lifestyle factors: Try to maintain a healthy weight with a heart-healthy diet, don’t smoke, exercise regularly, manage stress and control conditions that can lead to heart attacks, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

What should you do if you see someone who might be having a heart attack

If you see someone who looks like having a heart attack, first call for emergency medical help. Then check if the person is breathing and has a pulse and if the person is not breathing or you don’t find a pulse, then you can begin CPR to keep blood flowing. 

To perform CPR, you have to push hard and fast on the person’s chest in a fairly rapid rhythm, about 100 to 120 compressions a minute.

If you are not trained in CPR then only perform chest compressions. 

To perform CPR, you have to push hard and fast on the person’s chest in a fairly rapid rhythm, about 100 to 120 compressions a minute.

If you are not trained in CPR then only perform chest compressions. 

When to See a Doctor

If you feel symptoms of heart attack act immediately.  Some people wait too long because they don’t recognize the important symptoms. Take these step:

If you suspect you are having the symptoms of a heart attack, don’t hesitate, immediately call 911. If you can’t access to emergency medical services, have someone drive you to the nearest hospital.

There is a drug which you can take but only if prescribed by a doctor and take it as instructed while awaiting emergency help.

There is one more medicine which doctors recommend during a heart attack as it could reduce heart damage by helping to keep your blood from clotting.

Tags:  Heart diseases,Heart attack, Heart Failure

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