What is a heart attack?
Heart attack means the death of a part of the heart muscle due to loss of blood supply. Blood is usually cut off when a blood clot blocks the artery that supplies the heart muscle. When part of the heart muscle dies, a person experiences chest pain and electrical instability of the heart muscle tissue.
- Myocardial infarction (MI)
- Acute myocardial infarction (AMI)
- Acute coronary syndrome
- Coronary thrombosis
- Coronary occlusion
Signs, symptoms, and Complications
If you experience these heart attack warning signs do not wait to get help. Some heart attacks are sudden and severe. Take care of your body and call a physician if you experience it.
Chest discomfort: Most heart attacks have discomfort in the middle of the chest for more than a few minutes, or it may go away and come back. It can feel like uncomfortable stress, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
Discomfort in other parts of the body: Symptoms include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw, or abdomen.
Shortness of breath: It occurs with or without chest discomfort.
Other signs: There are other signs such as cold sweats, nausea, or a mild headache.
Damage to the heart during a heart attack often leads to complications, which can lead to further complications. Arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythms), heart failure, cardiogenic shock, and valve problems are the most common complications.
Causes of heart attack
When one or more of your coronary arteries become blocked it leads to a heart attack. Over time, fatty deposits, including cholesterol, form substances called plaques, which can narrow the arteries (atherosclerosis). This condition, called coronary artery disease, causes many heart attacks.
- During a heart attack, a plaque breaks down and leaks cholesterol and other substances into the bloodstream. Blood clots at the site of the break. If the clot is large, it can block blood flow through the coronary artery, depriving the heart of oxygen and nutrients (ischemia).
- You may have a partial or complete blockage of the coronary artery.
- Complete inhibition means you have an ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).
- Partial occlusion means you have a non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI).
- Diagnosis and treatment can vary depending on what type you have.
- Another cause of heart attack is a narrowing of the coronary artery, which blocks blood flow to the heart muscle. Using tobacco and illicit drugs such as cocaine can lead to fatal seizures.
- COVID-19 infection can also damage your heart and lead to a heart attack.
Risk factors of heart attack
The risk factors of a heart attack include:
Smoking: Chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage blood cells. They can also damage the function of your heart and the structure and function of your blood vessels. This damage increases your risk of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the formation of a waxy substance called plaque in the arteries. Over time, the plaque hardens and narrows the arteries.
It restricts the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your organs and other parts of your body. Ischemic heart disease occurs when plaque forms in the arteries that supply blood to the heart, called the coronary arteries. Over time, heart disease can lead to chest pain, heart attack, heart failure, arrhythmia, or death. Smoking increases the risk of heart disease when combined with unhealthy blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and other risk factors such as being overweight or the esophagus.
High blood pressure: Blood pressure is measured by estimating the pressure of the blood flowing through your arteries against the walls of those arteries. During a heart attack, blood flow to some part of the heart muscle is restricted or cut off because the blood clot blocks the artery. Without the necessary blood supply, the affected part of your heart will not receive the oxygen it needs to function properly.
High blood cholesterol: When you have high cholesterol in your blood, it forms on the walls of your arteries, causing a process called atherosclerosis, a form of heart disease. The arteries are narrow and slow or block blood flow to the heart muscle. Blood carries oxygen to the heart and if not enough blood and oxygen get to the heart, you can experience chest pain. If the blood supply to part of the heart is completely cut off, the result is a heart attack.
There are two forms of cholesterol known to most people low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad” cholesterol) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good” cholesterol). These are the ways that cholesterol travels through the blood. The main source of arterial occlusion plaque is LDL. HDL works to remove cholesterol from the blood.
Overweight and obesity: His arrhythmia appears to be associated with a fatal heart attack. Inflammation is a major factor in cardiovascular disease, researchers say, and esophagitis is now increasingly recognized as an inflammatory condition.
An unhealthy diet: When it comes to heart disease risk, what you eat is yourself. Poor diet contributes to cholesterol and triglycerides, high blood pressure, diabetes, and balance. Several important studies provide compelling evidence that diet also affects the risk of complete coronary heart disease and heart attack.
Lack of routine physical activity: Not getting enough physical activity can lead to heart disease even for people who do not have other risk factors. It also increases the risk of developing other heart disease risk factors, including esophagitis, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
High blood sugar due to insulin resistance or diabetes: The blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels can be damaged by high blood glucose from diabetes. If you have diabetes for a long time, you are more likely to get heart disease. People with heart disease are more prone to heart attack than with diabetes.
The most common causes of death in adults with diabetes are heart disease and stroke. Adults with diabetes are almost twice as likely to die of heart disease or stroke than those with diabetes. The good news is that the steps you take to manage your diabetes can also help reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke.
Risk factors such as arrears, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar can occur together. When they do, it is called metabolic syndrome. In general, a person with metabolic syndrome is twice as likely to have heart disease, and a person five times more likely to have diabetes than a person without metabolic syndrome.
Diagnosis of heart attack
Tests to diagnose a heart attack include:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG): This first test done to diagnose a heart attack records electrical signals as they pass through your heart. Adhesive patches (electrodes) are attached to your chest and limbs. Signals are recorded as waves displayed on the monitor or printed on paper. Because the injured heart muscle does not normally conduct electrical impulses, an ECG shows that a heart attack has occurred or is in progress.
- Blood tests: Some heart proteins will slowly leak into your bloodstream after a heart attack from a heart attack. Emergency room doctors take samples of your blood to check for these proteins or enzymes.
Treatments for heart attack
If your doctor suspects a heart attack, you can treat it immediately:
- Aspirin to prevent blood clots
- Nitroglycerin to relieve chest pain and improve blood flow
- Oxygen therapy
Once your doctor has diagnosed a heart attack, they will prescribe medication. They may recommend surgery if necessary.
- Give your medicine: The medicine drug is called thrombolytic. It helps to clot the blood that clogs the coronary artery.
- Do a coronary angiography: X-ray of the blood vessels.
- Do an angioplasty or stent: Angioplasty involves inserting a small balloon into an artery in your arm or leg. The balloon threads the artery to the heart. The balloon pushes the open black coronary arteries. A small metal rod called a stent can be placed in the clogged artery to keep the artery open.
- Do coronary artery bypass surgery: If angioplasty and/or stenting is not appropriate, you may need this major surgery. Your doctor will remove a healthy vein from your leg or artery from your upper body. He or she will bypass around the blockage in your coronary artery. This allows blood to flow around the blockage.
- If screening tests reveal coronary artery disease, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk for heart attack or exacerbated heart disease. Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet, exercise, and smoking cessation. Medications may also be required. Medications can treat risk factors for coronary artery diseases (CAD) such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and low blood flow.
- A negative cardiac CT for calcium scoring means that no calcification has been found in your coronary arteries, indicating that there is no coronary artery disease or not being seen by this technique. Under these conditions, you are less likely to have a heart attack in the next two to five years.
- A positive cardiac CT for calcium scoring means you have CAD regardless of what symptoms you are experiencing. Calcification is expressed as the total calcium score. A score of 1 to 10 indicates minimal evidence of CAD, 11 to 100 indicates mild evidence, 101 to 400 indicates moderate evidence of disease, and a score of more than 500 indicates extensive evidence of disease.
- Your calcium score can help assess the likelihood of myocardial infarction (heart attack) in the years to come and help your doctor decide whether you should take preventative medicine or take other measures such as diet and exercise to reduce your risk of a heart attack.
- If there is coronary artery disease, lifestyle changes, medications, and if necessary, medical or surgical procedures in stages to reduce the person’s risk of heart attack and manage symptoms.
- Angioplasty and stenting: In an angioplasty procedure, a balloon-tipped catheter is used to guide a long, thin plastic tube into the coronary artery and to propel the vessel into a narrow or obstructed area. The balloon is then inflated, inflated, and removed to open the vessel. During angioplasty, a small wire mesh tube called a stent can be placed permanently in the newly opened artery to help keep it open. There are two types of stents: bare stents (wire mesh) and drug-eluting stents.
- Coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG): CABG is a surgical instrument used to re-circulate blood around diseased vessels. During this surgery, a healthy artery or vein from other parts of the body connects or sticks to the coronary artery, bypassing the barrier, creating a new way for oxygen-rich blood to flow to the heart muscle.
Prevention of heart attack
- Control your blood pressure: It is important to check your blood pressure regularly, once a year for most adults, and if you have high blood pressure. Take measures, including lifestyle changes to prevent or control high blood pressure.
- Keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels under control: High cholesterol clogs your arteries and increases the risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack. Lifestyle changes and medications (if needed) can lower your cholesterol. High levels of triglycerides increase the risk of coronary artery disease, especially in women.
- Stay at a healthy weight: Obesity increases your risk of heart disease. They are associated with high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as other heart disease risk factors, including high blood pressure and diabetes. Controlling your weight will reduce these risks.
- Eat a healthy diet: Foods high in sodium, saturated fats, and added sugars should be consumed in limited quantities. Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The dash diet is an example of an eating plan that can help you lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, which can reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Get regular exercise: Exercise has many benefits such as strengthening your heart and improving your circulation. It can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. All of these can reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Limit alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption can increase your blood pressure. It also adds extra calories, which can lead to weight gain. Both of these increase your risk of heart disease. Men should not have more than two alcoholic beverages per day and women should not have more than one.
- Don’t smoke: Cigarette smoking raises your blood pressure and increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. If you do not smoke, do not start. If you smoke, quitting will reduce your heart disease. You can talk to your healthcare provider to help to find the best way to exit.
- Manage stress: Stress is one of the causes of to increase in the risk of heart disease. It raises your blood pressure. Severe stress can “trigger” a heart attack. Also, some common ways to deal with stress, such as overeating, overeating, and smoking, are bad for your heart. Some of the ways that can help you manage your stress are exercise, listening to music, focusing on those who are calm or relaxed, and meditating.
- Manage diabetes: Having diabetes doubles the risk of diabetic heart disease. This is because, over time, Blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels can be damaged by high blood sugar. So, it is important to get tested for diabetes, and if you have it, you need to keep it under control.
- Make sure that you get enough sleep: If you do not get enough sleep, you will increase your risk of high blood pressure, esophagus, and diabetes. Those three things increase the risk of heart disease. 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night is required for adults. Make sure you have good sleep habits. If you have frequent sleep problems, consult your healthcare provider. One problem, sleep apnea, is that people often stop breathing during sleep. It can impair your ability to relax well and increase your risk of heart disease. If you think you may have it, ask your doctor about a sleep study. If you have sleep apnea, make sure you get treatment for it.