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Heart Attack

HEART ATTACK (Myocardial Infarction)

Cardiac health extensively affects the overall health status of an individual. Since heart diseases cause a negative effect on other organs, diagnosis and treatment should not be delayed. Despite of the striking improvement in diagnostic and therapeutic methods and use of technological advancements in the field of medicine, heart attack still remains as the main cause of sudden death today. Such that one out of every 5 sudden deaths is due to heart attack.

Heart attack develops as a result of blockage of the blood-supplying vessels of the heart leading to infraction of the heart muscle. Blood-supplying vessels are known as coronary arteries. These arteries may undergo blockage and narrowing due to several reasons. Vessel stiffness (atherosclerosis) accompanying the blockage and narrowing in coronary arteries may result in heart attack. There are some risk factors playing part in emergence of this problem, such as:

  • Smoking
  • Elevated cholesterol level
  • Hypertension and high blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Genetic factors
  • Menopause
  • Obesity
  • Age above 40
  • Stress

For a heart attack to occur, first the blood-supplying vessels of the heart should be blocked and obstructed so much that would allow passage of blood flow in anyway. This is a condition that develops progressively in years. An already narrowed vessel may undergo shrinkage due to reasons including hot weather, stress, heavy meal or dehydration so much that would cause the section of the heart muscle to die. This condition is defined as heart attack.

Causes of Heart Attack and Risk Factors

Age is a key player increasing the risk of heart attack. Men above 45 and women above 55, in particular, are more prone to risk compared to younger individuals. In addition, smoking, obesity and hypertension are other factors contributing to heart attack.

History of heart attack, angina (lack of sufficient oxygen in the heart) and familial history of heart attack are the other risk factors.

What Are The Symptoms of Heart Attack?

A patient having heart attack experiences chest pain. The sensation of pain behind the chest bone is the main symptom of heart attack. But it should be remembered that the condition named as the silent heart attack, which is most often seen in older patients may not present any chest pain at all.

The pain sensation at the chest region may also dissipate to shoulders and arms and even to teeth and jaws with the feeling of constriction. Dyspepsia (indigestion) and cold sweating may accompany pain. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, coughing, nausea followed by vomiting or dizziness. If you think you have these symptoms, you should call 112 right away.

Particularly in summer time, hot weather and stress are accepted as triggering factors for heart attack. If chest pain occurs under these conditions, you should immediately rest. Also, medical assistance should be called right away without questioning the cause of pain (medical help should be sought by 112 application.)

Heart Attack Treatment

First, initiatives should be taken to prevent heart attack by determining the risk factors and taking measures to protect the patient and his/her cardiac health. This should be followed by making some life style modifications, as necessary. Therefore, it is important that individuals in the risk group do not miss their periodical controls. Patients in the risk group should also get an EKG (treadmill test).

Heart attack is an emergency health issue, which requires transfer of the patient to the hospital or any health institution without losing time. Mortality before hospital ranges between 20 – 30% whereas in-hospital mortality remains at 10%. During heart attack, the heart may stop in two ways as stand still and fibrillated. In this process, normal heart function may be regained by using a defibrillator.

Measures To Be Taken to Avoid Heart Attack

  • Ideal weight should be preserved.
  • A stress-free life style should be adopted.
  • Smoking should be stopped.
  • Diabetes should be kept in control.
  • Cholesterol level should be kept in control.
  • A balanced and healthy nutrition should be followed.
  • Regular exercise should be performed.

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