Thursday, June 13, 2024

How Are Heart Attacks Diagnosed

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Know Your Heart Care Options

Heart attack (myocardial infarct) diagnosis | NCLEX-RN | Khan Academy

You cant predict if a heart attack will happen. But knowing where you can get the right heart care is one thing you can do. Our nationally recognized cardiac centers include:

  • Regions Hospital Heart Center in St. Paul, MN, is consistently recognized as one of the nations top cardiac centers. Youll get the highest level of care in every situation, starting with emergency treatment all the way through the recovery process.
  • Park Nicollet Heart and Vascular Center, located in St. Louis Park, MN, is nationally recognized for offering outstanding, responsive care for heart attacks and other cardiac conditions. This center is accredited as a Mission: Lifeline® Heart Attack Receiving Center by the American Heart Association, so you can expect first-rate treatment, especially in time-sensitive situations.
  • Cardiac rehabilitation services are offered across the Twin Cities and western Wisconsin. Recovering from a heart attack takes time, but you dont have to go through it alone. We offer personalized cardiac rehabilitation at seven convenient locations, so its easy to get the support you and your heart need.

People Who Have These So

  • a case of the flu, or
  • they may think that they strained a muscle in their chest or their upper back.
  • It also may not be discomfort in the chest, it may be in the jaw or the upper back or arms, she says.

Some folks have prolonged and excessive fatigue that is unexplained. Those are some of the less specific symptoms for a heart attack, but ones that people may ignore or attribute to something else.

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Symptoms Of A Heart Attack

Heart attack symptoms vary from person to person. They can include:

  • pain or discomfort in your chest that happens suddenly and doesn’t go away
  • pain that spreads to your left or right arm, or to your neck, jaw, back or stomach. For some people the pain or tightness is severe, while for others its uncomfortable. It may feel like heaviness, or a burning pain similar to indigestion
  • feeling sick, sweaty, light-headed or short of breath.

Its possible to have a heart attack without experiencing all these symptoms, and its important to remember everyone experiences pain differently. This is common in the elderly or people with diabetes, as the condition can cause nerve damage which affects how you feel pain.

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Recovering From A Heart Attack

You’ll usually stay in hospital for about two to five days after having a heart attack. This depends on what treatment you’ve had and how well you’re recovering.

Many people make a full recovery after a heart attack, but you might not be able to do everything you used to. Going to cardiac rehabilitation can help you get back to normal as quickly as possible.

A heart attack can be a frightening experience and it can take time to come to terms with what’s happened. Its natural to be worried about your recovery, feel scared, frustrated and isolated.

For support and advice, visit our emotional support page.Practical matters like driving, going back to work or finances might be a worry after a heart attack. You can get support and advice on these topics and more on our practical support page.

When Should I See My Doctor

Heart disease symptoms logo icon Royalty Free Vector Image

  • get worse quickly, or
  • last longer than 10 minutes
  • If calling triple zero does not work on your mobile, try calling 112. Early treatment could save a life.

    See your doctor regularly to manage your general health, test for heart disease risk factors and help you take steps to prevent a heart attack.

    Recommended Reading: What Causes Fast Heart Rate And Shaking

    How Is Heart Attack Diagnosed

    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:

    Q How Is Smoking Related To A Heart Attack

  • Most smokers get a heart attack which is directly related to their smoking habit. The nicotine consumed during smoking causes many health issues which include-
    • Lack of oxygen supply to the heart
    • Increased blood pressure and heart rate.
    • Clotting of blood.
    • Damage to cells that line coronary arteries and other blood vessels.

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    Q Can Stress Cause Heart Attack

  • Stress may affect behaviors and factors that increase heart disease risk: high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, smoking, drinking alcohol, physical inactivity and overeating. Our body releases adrenaline, a hormone that temporarily causes breathing and heart rate to speed up and blood pressure to rise. These reactions prepare us to deal with the situation the “fight or flight” response.When stress is constant, body remains in high gear off and on for days or weeks at a time. Although the link between stress and heart disease isnt clear, chronic stress can increase blood pressure and may damage the artery walls.
  • How Are Heart Attacks Diagnosed

    How is a Heart Attack 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.

    Read Also: What Is An Unsafe Heart Rate

    Types Of Heart Failure In Dogs

    Heart failure in dogs may take on two different forms.

    • Right-sided heart failure occurs when the right side of the heart cannot pump blood properly. This results in the blood, which should be returning to the heart from other parts of the body, backing up in those body organs. Right-sided heart failure usually leads to an accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity, the liver, and/or the limbs.
    • Left-sided heart failure occurs when the pumping mechanism on the left side of the heart fails. In this instance, the blood returning from the lungs to the heart backs up and fluid accumulates in the lungs.

    In some dogs, both sides of the heart are involved. This may lead to signs of both right- and left-sided heart failure occurring simultaneously.

    What Can I Expect If I Have This Condition

    After you’ve had a heart attack, you’re at a higher risk of a similar occurrence. Your healthcare provider will likely recommend follow-up monitoring, testing and care to avoid future heart attacks. Some of these include:

    • Heart scans: Similar to the methods used to diagnose a heart attack, these can assess the effects of your heart attack and determine if you have permanent heart damage. They can also look for signs of heart and circulatory problems that increase the chance of future heart attacks.
    • Stress test: Your provider may also recommend that you undergo a stress test. These are heart tests and scans that take place while youre exercising. Stress tests can show potential problems that stand out only when your heart is working harder.
    • Cardiac rehabilitation: Your healthcare provider may recommend that you go through a cardiac rehabilitation program during your recovery from a heart attack. These programs are medically supervised and focus on helping you improve your overall health and lifestyle, which can prevent another heart attack. Cardiac rehabilitation generally involves a team of providers and experts, including doctors, physical therapists, nurses, exercise specialists/trainers, dietitians, health educators, counselors and more.

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    Can You Have A Heart Attack And Not Know

    Usually when you are suffering from a heart attack, you are aware of it because you are experiencing symptoms. The main symptom, severe chest pain, is usually extremely obvious. Most people know about chest pain and heart attacks. What few know is that it doesnt always happen the same way in every person.

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    Can I Prevent Having A Heart Attack

    Heart attack symptoms

    In general, there are many things that you can do that may prevent a heart attack. However, some factors beyond your control especially your family history can still lead to a heart attack despite your best efforts. Still, reducing your risk can postpone when you have a heart attack and reduce the severity if you have one.

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    Heart Attack Is A Medical Emergency

    Call triple zero for an ambulance if you or someone you are with experiences the warning signs of heart attack.

    Its important to call triple zero, because:

    • The trained operator will decide if you need an ambulance.
    • You will receive treatment as soon as you phone.
    • You will receive advice on what to do while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

    Ambulance paramedics are trained to use special lifesaving equipment and to start early treatments for heart attack inside the ambulance. Early treatment can reduce the damage to your heart.

    The ambulance is the safest and fastest way to get you to hospital. It gets you medical attention straight away.

    Do not drive yourself to the hospital. This is dangerous for you and other road users.

    If you live in a remote region and an ambulance is not available, make sure someone else drives you.

    Its always better to go to hospital and be told its not a heart attack than to stay at home until its too late. Ignoring the warning signs can result in permanent damage to your heart muscle.

    How To Make The Switch

    Start eating more fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Depending on how far you want to take it, you can cut back on animal products, or cut them out.

    Check with a dietitian to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need. For example, you’ll need to take a supplement or look for foods fortified with vitamin B12 if you totally cut out animal products. You’ll also want to check on whether you’re getting enough iron, calcium, and zinc.

    If you decide to swap dairy products for rice milk, nut milk, soy milk, or other plant-based alternatives, check the label to see how much calcium and vitamin D you’re getting.

    To get enough protein without meat, favor beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, quinoa, or tofu.

    You’ll still need to stick with your doctor’s guidelines about fat, calories, sugar, and salt. It’s possible to get too much of those whether you eat animal products or not.

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    How A Heart Attack Is Diagnosed

    Utilizing Blood Tests, ECG, and Imaging Studies

    A heart attack, referred to medically as myocardial infarction, occurs when the blood flow to a part of the heart suddenly slows or stops, causing damage to the heart muscle. Roughly 735,000 heart attacks occur in the United States each year. Of these, around 26% of women and 19% of men will die as a result of the event within a year, according to the American Heart Association .

    Knowing the signs and obtaining a timely diagnosis can increase your chances of survival and recovery.

    Four Things An Ekg Can Tell You About Your Hearts Health

    How is a Heart Attack Diagnosed

    An electrocardiogram is a test that analyzes the electrical activity of your heart. The test, which takes approximately ten minutes to perform, involves a technician attaching twelve leads to your chest and then getting a 12-line printout that reflects your hearts activity during a 10-second window.

    So, what exactly can an EKG tell you about your hearts health?

    1. An EKG can reveal an arrhythmia .

    A healthy heart should be pumping in a steady rhythm. However, when there is dysfunction in the electric signals sent from one part of your heart to another, the heart beats abnormally, which produces an arrhythmia. Since an EKG is measuring the electrical activity of your heart, it quickly picks up these arrhythmias.

    2. An EKG can reveal if your heart is getting enough oxygen.

    Your heart is a hard-working muscle that requires plenty of oxygen in order to stay strong and function properly. However, due to blockages or constrictions in the coronary blood vessels, the heart can experience ischemia, a dangerous state in which the cardiac tissue is underperfused. If your heart experiences prolonged ischemia, the muscle can actually start to die, leading to heart failure and even death. An EKG is a useful tool that helps medical providers evaluate how much oxygen your heart is getting and intervene immediately if your heart is ischemic to prevent catastrophic complications.

    3. An EKG can reveal if your heart is enlarged.

    Read Also: How To Get Resting Heart Rate Down

    How Do I Know If I Am At Risk For A Heart Attack

    A heart attack can happen to anyone, woman or man, young or old. Some people are more at risk because of certain health problems, family health history, age, and habits. These are called risk factors.

    You can’t change some risk factors, like your age, race or ethnicity, or family history. The good news is that you can change or control many risk factors, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and unhealthy eating.

    Learn more about controllable and uncontrollable risk factors for heart disease.

    What Causes Silent Heart Attacks

    Silent heart attacks are caused by the same things that cause traditional heart attacks. This happens when part of the heart muscle is damaged or dies because it hasnt received enough oxygen. This is often due to a blocked artery in the heart. Risk factors for silent heart attacks are also the same. They include:

    • Age risk increases for men older than 45 and for women older than 55 .
    • High cholesterol.
    • Family history of heart attack.
    • Race African Americans, Mexican Americans, Native Americans and native Hawaiians are at greater risk.
    • Lack of exercise.
    • Gender women have silent heart attacks more often than men.

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    Are There Complications Of A Heart Attack

    Complications following a heart attack can include:

    • Arrhythmia your heart may develop an irregular heartbeat following a heart attack due to damaged heart muscles disrupting electrical signals.
    • Heart failure your heart may have ongoing difficulty pumping enough blood, due to its muscles being too weak or stiff.
    • Cardiogenic shock where your whole body goes into shock from extensive heart muscle damage.
    • Heart rupture this is a rare but serious complication in which the hearts muscles, walls or valves split apart.

    These can be dangerous if untreated, but your healthcare team will help to manage them if they occur.

    Angina Vs Heart Attack

    Heart Disease: Signs, Symptoms, and Complications

    Chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscle is called angina. Its a common symptom of heart disease. There are two main types of angina:

    • stable angina, the most common type of angina and one that is predictable often occurring with physical exertion or stress
    • unstable angina, which is unpredictable and should be treated as a medical emergency

    An angina attack can feel like a heart attack, and in many cases especially with unstable angina it can be hard to tell angina from an actual heart attack.

    If you have stable angina thats brought on with exertion and eases with rest, you may assume a sudden but brief bout of chest pain is only an angina attack. If chest pain doesnt subside with rest or comes and goes for a period of 10 minutes or more, you may be having a heart attack.

    Talking with your doctor about how to manage your angina will help you better understand the difference between angina and heart attack symptoms, and help prepare you if your chest pain is actually a symptom of a heart attack.

    The leading cause of heart attacks is coronary heart disease. This is where plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. The general buildup of plaque in the arteries is also known as atherosclerosis.

    There are two main types of heart attack.

    In type II heart attacks the heart does not receive as much oxygen-rich blood as it needs, but there is not a complete blockage of an artery.

    Other causes of heart attacks include:

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    How Is A Heart Attack Diagnosed

    Doctors typically diagnose a heart attack after they perform a physical exam and review your medical history. Your doctor will likely conduct an electrocardiogram to check your hearts electrical activity.

    An echocardiogram, which uses sound waves to create an image of the hearts chambers and valves, can reveal how blood is flowing through the heart and what parts of the heart, if any, have been damaged.

    Your doctor may also order a cardiac catheterization. This is a probe inserted into the blood vessels through a flexible tube called a catheter. It allows your doctor to view areas in and around your heart where plaque may have built up. They can also inject dye into your arteries, order an X-ray to see how the blood flows, and view any blockages.

    Your healthcare team will likely also take a sample of your blood or perform other tests to see if theres evidence of heart muscle damage.

    A commonly used blood test checks for levels of troponin T, a protein found in the heart muscle. Elevated levels of troponin T in the bloodstream is associated with a heart attack.

    If youve had a heart attack, your doctor may recommend a procedure . These procedures can relieve pain and help prevent another heart attack from occurring.

    Common procedures include:

    Your doctor may also prescribe medications to treat your heart attack, including:

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