Heart Attack is a critical condition when the supply of the blood to the heart becomes blocked, often as a result of a blood clot.
Other medical terms that are used for heart attack include myocardial infarction, cardiac infarction, and coronary thrombosis.
Infarction occurs when blood supply to the area is cut off, and the tissue in that area dies.
Heart Attack often looks similar to cardiac arrest. They both are medical emergencies and when the blockage of an artery leading to the heart then we call it a heart attack and cardiac arrest involves the heart stops the pumping of blood around the body. A heart attack can lead to cardiac arrest.
Symptoms of Heart Attack
There are some clear symptoms of heart attack that requires medical attention.
Signs that a person is having a heart attack are aching in the chest or arms that spread to the neck, jaw or back, pain, squeezing, tightness, or, a feeling of pressure.
Other Possible signs and symptoms of heart attack are:
- crushing chest pain
- shortness of breath called dyspnea
- face seeming gray
- a feeling of terror that life is ending
- feeling awful, generally
- feeling clammy and sweaty
- shortness of breath
Warning Signs of Heart Attack
All the symptoms that are listed above are linked to heart attacks, other than those four warning signs are listed by the American Heart Association (AHA) which is considered a crucial sign of heart attack.
- squeezing, discomfort, pressure, or fullness in the chest that lasts several minutes or resolves then returns
- pain or discomfort in the arms, back, stomach, neck, or jaw
- sudden shortness of breath
Other signs can include a sick or nauseous feeling, cold sweat, or being lightheaded.
Complications of Heart Attack
Complications of heart attack can be of two types i.e. it can happen instantly or can happen later on.
- Arrhythmias: Heartbeats either too fast or too slowly.
- Cardiogenic shock: Blood Pressure drops suddenly and the heart isn’t able to supply blood for the body to work properly.
- Hypoxemia: low level of oxygen in the blood.
- Pulmonary edema: fluid accumulates in and around the lungs.
- DVT or deep vein thrombosis: Blockage in the flow of blood because of the deep veins of the legs and pelvis that develop blood clots.
- Myocardial rupture: Damage of the wall of the heart due to a heart attack which increases the risk of heart wall rupture.
Complications that can occur later
- Aneurysm: scar tissue builds up on the damaged heart wall, leading to low blood pressure, blood clots, and abnormal heart rhythms.
- Angina: low supply of oxygen to the heart, causing chest pain.
- Congestive heart failure: feeling exhausted and breathless due to weak or slow heartbeat.
- Edema: fluid accumulates in the legs and ankles which cause swelling.
- Loss of erectile function: erectile dysfunction due to vascular problems, however, it can happen due to depression also.
- Loss of libido: sexual drive loss can happen, especially in the case of men.
- Pericarditis: heart lining becomes inflamed, causing serious chest pain.
A person must be monitored by a doctor for several months if he had a heart attack in the past to check for any of these complications that may occur.
Treatment of Heart Attack
It’s better to treat yourself in the early stages when you have a heart attack to deal with effectively. However, survival depends on how quickly a person gets to reach the hospital.
If a person had a heart attack in the past then he should inform about this to the doctor and talk about the treatment plans.
Treatments during a heart attack
Sometimes, a person having a heart attack stops breathing and in that case, CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) should be started immediately. This process involves:
- manual chest compressions
- a defibrillator
Treatments following a heart attack
To treat yourself, you need proper medication or treatment. The measures taken by you will keep you prevented from future heart attacks. Measures include:
- aspirin and other antiplatelets
- ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors
- CABG or coronary artery bypass graft
Prevention of Heart Attack
A person should follow a healthy lifestyle and have a balanced diet to stay prevented from a heart attack.
Measures for healthy living include the following:
- Strictly Avoid Smoking
- Have a healthy and balanced diet
- Do exercise and Yoga
- Take sleep of proper 6-8 hrs.
- Keeping diabetes under control
- Less intake of Alcohol
- Maintain blood cholesterol at optimum levels
- Keeping blood pressure at a safe level
- Keep yourself fit and have a healthy normal body weight
- Learn to manage stress
If a person found to be having a heart attack then immediately he got admitted into the hospital and several tests may be done that includes:
- ECG or electrocardiograph
- cardiac enzyme tests
- chest X-ray
Recovery of a person is a complete process and it depends on the age of the person that how fast can he recovers and on the severity of the heart attack and other factors.
A person’s recovery may involve:
- Resuming physical activity: a recovering heart attack patient must stay active. However, a specialist should design any exercise program for them.
- Returning to work: It depends on factors that when can a person can get back to his work that includes the severity of the heart attack, type of job, however, it is suggested to take some months to rest after having a heart attack to recover properly.
- A period of depression: You should consult your doctor if you are having depression after a heart attack.
- Driving again: You should not drive for about 4 months after having a heart attack as suggested by experts.
- Erectile dysfunction: Getting an erection after a heart attack is faced by approx one-third of men. So, you need to consult your doctor in this case as medication can restore function.
According to experts, sexual activity doesn’t lead you to another heart attack
Causes Of Heart Attack
These are factors that are responsible to have an increased risk of a heart attack:
- Age: In the case of men over 45, and women over 55, heart attack case increased
- Angina: This causes chest pain due to a lack of blood supply, or oxygen to the heart.
- High cholesterol levels: This increases the chance of blood clots in the arteries.
- Diabetes: This can increase heart attack risk.
- Diet: A person who consumed more saturated fat will likely have more chances of having a heart attack.
- Genetics: A person can inherit a higher risk of a heart attack.
- Heart surgery: If you have done surgery of your heart then you might have a heart attack later on
- Hypertension: High blood pressure can put unnecessary pressure on the heart.
- Obesity: Being overweight can put pressure on the heart.
- Previous heart attack: If you had a heart attack in the past then you might have in the future also, that’s the possibility.
- Smoking: You are at a higher risk if you smoke.
- HIV: HIV-positive People have a 50 percent higher risk.
- Work stress: Stressful work or job can lead to a heart attack.
If you are an active person then you are having fewer chances of having a heart attack.