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Do All Heart Attacks Require Surgery

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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Having A Heart Attack

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Although there are several risk factors that you cant control, there are many ways you can help yourself and reduce your risk of a heart attack. These include:

  • Schedule a checkup: Find a primary care provider and see them at least once a year for a checkup or wellness visit. An annual checkup can catch many of the early warning signs of heart disease, including signs that you can’t feel. These include your blood pressure, blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels and more.
  • Quit tobacco products: This includes smokeless tobacco and all vaping products.
  • Exercise regularly: Aim for 20 to 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity a week.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Examples include the Mediterranean or Dash diets. A plant-based diet approach is an excellent alternative.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Your primary care provider can advise you on a healthy goal weight and provide you resources and guidance to help you reach that goal.
  • Manage your existing health conditions: This includes high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • Reduce your stress: Consider techniques such as yoga, deep breathing and meditation.
  • Take your medications: Dont just take medications when you remember to or when you have a doctors appointment coming up.
  • Keep all your medical appointments: Seeing your healthcare providers regularly can help uncover heart-related issues or other medical problems you didn’t know you had. This can also help treat problems sooner rather than later.

How Are Heart Attacks Diagnosed

Heart attacks are usually diagnosed in an emergency room setting. A healthcare provider will diagnose a heart attack using the following:

  • History and symptoms: The provider will ask you about the symptoms you experienced. If someone was with you, the provider might also ask them to describe what happened.
  • Lab testing: Heart attacks cause a specific chemical marker to show up in your blood.
  • Heart-specific diagnostic tests: This includes tests that detect and record the electrical activity in your heart.
  • Imaging tests: These tests give providers a way to see inside your heart. Many of these tests can also show the location of a blood flow blockage, which can guide treatment.

What Is A Heart Attack

A myocardial infarction is an extremely dangerous condition caused by a lack of blood flow to your heart muscle. The lack of blood flow can occur because of many different factors but is usually related to a blockage in one or more of your hearts arteries. Without blood flow, the affected heart muscle will begin to die. If blood flow isnt restored quickly, a heart attack can cause permanent heart damage and death.

A heart attack is a life-threatening emergency. If you suspect you or someone you’re with is having a heart attack, do not hesitate to call 911 . Time is critical in treating a heart attack, and a delay of even a few minutes can result in permanent heart damage or death.

How common are heart attacks?

New heart attacks happen to about 635,000 people in the U.S. each year. About 300,000 people a year have a second heart attack. About one in seven deaths in the U.S. is due to coronary heart disease, which includes heart attacks.

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Heart Procedures And Surgeries

If you’ve had a heart attack, you may have already had certain procedures to help you survive your heart attack and diagnose your condition. For example, many heart attack patients have undergone thrombolysis, a procedure that involves injecting a clot-dissolving agent to restore blood flow in a coronary artery. This procedure is administered within a few hours of a heart attack. If this treatment isn’t done immediately after a heart attack, many patients will need to undergo coronary angioplasty or coronary artery bypass graft surgery later to improve blood supply to the heart muscle.

See diagnostic tests and procedures to better understand the tests you may have to undergo to find out if you had a heart attack, how much damage was done and what degree of coronary artery disease you have.

When Can I Resume My Usual Activities

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Recovery from a heart attack after youre released from the hospital depends on the severity of the heart attack, how soon treatment began, methods used and the health conditions you had if any before your heart attack. Your healthcare provider can explain the next steps for your recovery and what you can expect. In general, most people can return to work or resume their usual activities anywhere between two weeks to three months after their heart attack.

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Articles On Living With Coronary Artery Disease

Cardiac rehabilitation can help people with a wide range of heart issues.

Your doctor may suggest that you take part in your hospital’s cardiac rehab program if you have a heart condition or if you had heart surgery or a heart attack. You’ll get an exercise plan that’s designed just for you and learn how to improve your habits, like switching to a healthier diet and quitting tobacco if you’re a smoker.

A cardiac rehab program also offers you emotional support. You can meet others who are going through the same things you are and who can help you stay on track to maintain a healthier heart.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Heart Attack

Heart attacks can have a number of symptoms, some of which are more common than others. The symptoms you have are also influenced by your sex, as with men and women being more likely to have different heart attack symptoms.

Common heart attack symptoms

Symptoms most often described by people having a heart attack:

  • Chest pain . This symptom can be mild and feel like discomfort or heaviness, or it can be severe and feel like crushing pain. It may start in your chest and spread to other areas like your left arm , shoulder, neck, jaw, back or down toward your waist.
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing.
  • Nausea or stomach discomfort. Heart attacks can often be mistaken for indigestion.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Feeling lightheaded, dizzy or passing out.

Heart attack symptoms in women

Medical research in recent years has shown that women may have the above symptoms, but also have a higher chance of experiencing symptoms different from those listed above.Women are less likely to describe the following:

  • Chest pain, especially in the center of the chest.
  • Discomfort that feels like indigestion.

Women are more likely to describe the following:

  • Shortness of breath, fatigue and insomnia that started before the heart attack.
  • Pain in the back, shoulders, neck, arms or abdomen.
  • Nausea and vomiting.

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Does A Cardiologist Perform Heart Surgery

While cardiologists cannot do surgery, they can undertake several specialized treatments. Stents, for example, can be used by an interventional cardiologist to unblock blocked arteries. They can also implant modern gadgets in the hearts of patients who have cardiac problems. These include pacemakers, which are used to regulate a patient’s heartbeat or deliver electrical shocks to restore normal rhythm defibrillators, which help control abnormal heart rhythms and cardioverters, which can be used instead of medication to control certain types of arrhythmia. Cardiologists may also take blood samples to diagnose diseases such as coronary artery disease or hypertension.

Because heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, it is important for cardiology residents to know how to perform various procedures. Many cardiology departments require their residents to complete training in advanced cardiac interventions before being allowed to work with patients alone. This may involve performing simple tasks such as placing catheters into vessels or hearts, but it also may include more complex procedures such as angioplasty or heart valve repair. Other specialties that involve treatment of the heart and lungs include cardiotoxicology and pulmonology.

Living With A Heart Attack

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After youve had a heart attack, you are at higher risk of having another one. Your doctor will likely recommend heart-healthy lifestyle changes to help reduce your risk. They include:

  • Maintaining a heart-healthy diet
  • Being physically active
  • Quitting smoking

Symptoms during a second heart attack may be different than the first one. If you have any new symptoms of heart attack or are in any doubt, call 911. Early treatment is the key to surviving a heart attack.

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What Is A Cardiac Rehabilitation Program

Before you leave the hospital, your doctor may talk to you about a cardiac rehabilitation program. These programs provide information that will help you understand your risk factors. It will help you live a healthy lifestyle that can prevent future heart problems. You will learn about exercise and diet, and how to reach and maintain a healthy weight. You will also learn ways to control your stress level, your blood pressure, and your cholesterol levels.

Your cardiac rehabilitation program will probably start while you are still in the hospital. After you leave the hospital, your rehabilitation will continue in a rehab center. The rehab center may be at the hospital or in another location.

Most cardiac rehabilitation programs last 3 to 6 months. Your doctor will talk to you about how often you need to attend the program. Once you enroll in a cardiac rehabilitation program, regular attendance is important. The more lifestyle changes you make, the better your chances of preventing future heart problems.

The sooner you get medical help, the greater your chances of surviving a heart attack. Do not delay getting immediate medical attention if you are experiencing symptoms of heart attack.

Heart Attack Recovery At Home

You should take it easy early on, gradually building up how much you do. Try to get up, wash and get dressed, even if you dont feel like doing so.

Do some light household activities like making a hot drink, or get back into the habit of doing the usual things like the washing up. Keep active by going up and down stairs, walking around the house or by going for a short walk.

These small activities might make you feel tired or groggy at first but keep going. If they make you feel very unwell, contact your GP or cardiac rehab nurse if youre already in touch with them.

If youve had a stent inserted its common to experience a settling down discomfort which may feel similar to the pain you had at the time of the heart attack. If you get chest pain:

  • use your GTN spray as prescribed
  • if the pain doesnt stop after using the spray twice, or within a few minutes, call 999 for an ambulance.

You might find it helpful to have someone stay with you for the first few days or weeks once you return home. They can give you a hand around the house and help you build your confidence.

Although your loved ones might be tempted to wrap you in cotton wool, its important you are as independent as possible.

Remember to:

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What Approaches Do Surgeons Use To Do Heart Surgery

The approach a surgeon uses to do heart surgery depends on your heart problem, your general health, and other factors. Approaches to heart surgery include:

  • Open-heart surgery is when the surgeon cuts the chest open to reach the heart. Because it’s difficult to operate on a beating heart, medicines are used to stop the heart. A heart-lung bypass machine keeps oxygen-rich blood pumping through the body during the surgery.
  • Off-pump heart surgery is open-heart surgery on a beating heart without using a heart-lung bypass machine. The surgeon holds the heart steady with a device. Surgeons may use off-pump heart surgery to do coronary artery bypass grafts , but only in certain cases.
  • Minimally invasive heart surgery uses small cuts between the ribs. The cuts may be as small as 2 to 3 inches. The surgeon inserts tools into the chest through the cuts. This type of heart surgery may or may not use a heart-lung bypass machine.
  • Robotic-assisted surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery. The surgeon uses a computer to control tools on the arms of a robot. This allows the surgeon to be very accurate when doing difficult operations.

What Is The Recovery Time

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Recovery time depends on the type of surgery you have, but for most types of heart surgery you are likely to spend a day or more in the hospitalâs intensive care unit. Then you will be moved to another part of the hospital for several days until you go home.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute notes that the length of your recovery time at home will depend on the type of surgery you had, your overall health before the surgery, and whether you experienced any complications from surgery. For example, full recovery from a traditional coronary artery bypass may take six to 12 weeks or more.

Physician anesthesiologists are the most highly skilled medical experts in anesthesia care, pain management, and critical care medicine. They have the education and training that, in some circumstances, can mean the difference between life and death.

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What Is The Gallbladder

The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ located below the liver. The liver produces bile, which helps the body digest fats. The gallbladder stores bile and releases it into the small intestine to aid digestion. Substances in the bile can harden and deposit in the gallbladder, forming a fine sludge or stones that range in size from pebbles to golf balls.

Some people have gallstones, have no symptoms, and therefore, dont need surgery.

The gallbladder attack symptoms often start when gallstones slow or obstruct the flow of bile out of the gallbladder. The symptoms of a classic gallbladder attack include:

  • Sudden, intense pain in the upper right abdomen
  • Sudden, intense pain in the center abdomen
  • Pain between the shoulder blades
  • Pain in the right shoulder
  • Nausea/vomiting

Some gallbladder attack symptoms resolve after 1-2 hours. However, most patients usually only find complete pain relief when the gallbladder and gallstones are removed.

Thanks to modern medicine, most gallbladder removals are done laparoscopically, using minimally invasive surgical techniques. Laparoscopic gallbladder removal provides immediate symptom relief. And, the minimally invasive approach helps people recover from major abdominal surgery in just weeks.

Coronary Angioplasty And Stenting

Coronary angioplasty and stenting is used to open up narrowed or blocked arteries which supply your heart muscle. This treatment is done to provide relief from symptoms of angina.

During angioplasty and stenting, the narrowed artery is stretched open with a balloon , and a metal strut known as a stent is implanted into the coronary artery. This keeps the narrowing open and allows your blood to flow more freely through it.

Angioplasy is also known as Percutaneous Coronary Intervention .

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When Does It Start

A big part of cardiac rehab is exercise. This makes your heart stronger.

Cardiac rehab involves in-person visits, typically three times a week, for 12 weeks. It usually starts several weeks after hospital discharge. Your team will check on your overall health as well as your specific heart condition. They will come up with an exercise and eating plan that keeps your limitations in mind. They will consider things such as your weight and whether you smoke.

Your rehab team will make sure you are exercising safely. Theyâll check your blood pressure and heart rate often.

How Is Heart Attack Diagnosed

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You may need several tests to determine the cause of your symptoms.

  • Electrocardiogram . This test records the electrical activity of your heart. It can help diagnose heart rhythm problems. It can also find damage from a decrease in blood flow.
  • Blood tests. When blood flow decreases, special proteins leak into the blood system. A blood test can detect these proteins. Your doctor may want to test your blood several times during the first 24 to 48 hours after yours symptoms start.

Other tests your doctor may want you to have include:

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Who Is Most At Risk For A Heart Attack

Several key factors affect your risk of having a heart attack. Unfortunately, some of these risk factors aren’t things you can control.

  • If you have certain health conditions or diseases.

Age and sex

Your risk of heart attack increases as you get older, and your sex also influences when your risk of a heart attack starts to increase:

  • Men: The risk of heart attack increases greatly at age 45.
  • Women: The risk of heart attack increases greatly at age 50 or after menopause.

Family history

If you have a parent or sibling with a history of heart disease or heart attack especially at a younger age your risk is even greater. That risk increases with the following:

  • Your father or a brother who was diagnosed with heart disease at age 55 or younger.
  • Your mother or a sister who was diagnosed with heart disease at age 65 or younger.

Lifestyle

The lifestyle choices you make can also affect your risk of having a heart attack. The following lifestyle factors increase your risk of heart attack:

  • Lack of physical activity.
  • Eating disorders .

Returning To Everyday Activities After A Heart Attack

Most people are keen to get back to their everyday lives, so ask your doctor when you can start your normal daily activities again. Things to consider include:

  • work most people can go back to work after having a heart attack, but if you have had surgery, it may take a little longer until you are ready. If you have a physical or stressful job, ask your doctor whether you need to have lighter duties.

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