Precaution Tips After A Mild Heart Attack
If you have suffered a mild heart attack, your doctor may recommend some lifestyle and health changes in order to reduce your risk of experiencing a secondary cardiac event. These tips include:
Stop smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease, as it damages the walls of the blood vessels and may prevent blood and oxygen from reaching the heart and organs. Smoking tobacco also encourages the formation of blood clots that can cause heart attacks, while the nicotine found in cigarettes can raise your blood pressure.
Control your blood pressure: Managing your blood pressure can prevent excess stress from being placed on your heart and blood vessels. Talk to your doctor about ways to naturally lower and manage your blood pressure, as well as the medicinal options that are available to you.
Control your cholesterol: An excess of LDL or bad cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease, and if your levels are high, your doctor may recommend a prescription to control it as well as encourage you to eat healthier and exercise regularly.
Check for diabetes: Be sure to get screened for diabetes, as both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can increase your risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
Exercise: Exercising regularlyespecially cardio activitiescan help make your heart stronger and lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. Jogging, running, walking, bicycling, and swimming are all good examples of cardio exercises to help get your heart pumping.
Emergency Testing For A Heart Attack
After you call 911 for a heart attack, paramedics will quickly assess your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. They also will place electrodes on your chest for an electrocardiogram to check your heart’s electrical activity.
When you arrive at the hospital, the emergency room doctor will take your history and do a physical examination, and a more complete ECG will be done. A technician will draw blood to test for cardiac enzymes, which are released into the bloodstream when heart cells die.
If your tests show that you are at risk of having or are having a heart attack, your doctor will probably recommend that you have cardiac catheterization. The doctor can then see whether your coronary arteries are blocked and how your heart functions.
If an artery appears blocked, angioplastyâa procedure to open up clogged arteriesâmay be done during the catheterization. Or you will be referred to a cardiovascular surgeon for coronary artery bypass graft surgery.
Some treatments and tests, such as cardiac catheterization, may be available only at regional medical centres. The tests and treatment your doctor chooses may depend on how close you are to a regional centre and the time it would take to transport you to the centre for treatment.
For The First Few Months She Had Panic Attacks When She Thought She Was Having Another Heart Attack
Some people had lost their confidence after their heart attack. In many cases, this was only for a short while until they attended a cardiac rehabilitation programme . Others said that it had taken many months or in a few cases, years to build up their confidence. One man felt his confidence had not returned to how it was before his heart attack, ten years later.
Some people who had felt a bit down or low for the first few weeks after their heart attack managed to overcome these feelings. A few experienced depression, which they had found difficult to overcome . One man was severely depressed with suicidal thoughts during the first few months after his heart attack. Reiki and counselling had helped some of those we spoke to If depression continues beyond six weeks, people should talk to their GP or cardiac rehabilitation nurse, as it can hinder recovery from a heart attack.
A few people said they had not felt depressed but had felt quite tearful and emotional at times.Some people felt angry or frustrated, especially those who had, had a heart attack at a young age. One woman explains that she tried to be positive, but often she felt angry and depressed at having a heart attack when she was only thirty-seven. One man, who couldn’t do the things he could before, felt angry and frustrated during the first year after his heart attack.
How Is A Heart Attack Diagnosed
The ambulance team will do an electrocardiogram to detect whether you’re having a heart attack. If the ECG shows youre having a heart attack, youre likely to have emergency treatment as soon as you arrive in hospital. If the ECG doesnt confirm a heart attack you might need further tests to investigate if you are having a heart attack, including:
- an assessment of your symptoms and medical history
- physical examinations, including measuring your blood pressure and monitoring your heart rhythm and heart rate
- blood tests including a troponin test to detect if theres been any damage to your heart muscle
- further ECGs
- an echocardiogram.
You might hear a heart attack being called acute coronary syndrome, myocardial infarction or coronary thrombosis while you’re at hospital.
What Happens In The First Few Days After A Heart Attack
You will be closely monitored in the first few days after your heart attack
Depending on the severity of your heart attack, the treatmentyou have received and your home situation, you will usuallybe in hospital for 3 to 5 days.
- The first 24-48 hours after a heart attack is when your condition will be most unstable.
- This period is often spent in a coronary care unit , a specialised intensive care unit for heart patients, or in an acute medical ward where your heart function can be monitored closely.
- Your blood sugar level will also be closely monitored. After a heart attack, some people have an increase in their blood sugar level. If this happens you might need treatment with insulin to reduce your blood sugar levels.
- As a result of your heart attack, other conditions can develop. For example, your heart may not be able to pump blood around your body as well as it did before, or there may be damage to the control of the electrical activity of your heart.
- It is normal to feel very tired after a heart attack. Initially try to limit any visiting to your immediate family and keep visits brief. Meals are intentionally light as a heavy meal will increase demand on your heart. Eating smaller meals more often means that your heart will not have to work so hard.
Heart Attack With Stents
A stent is used to reduce the chances of a heart attack. This wire-mesh tube is inserted into a blocked artery to help increase blood flow to your heart. The stent is left in place permanently to improve your condition.
When done with a coronary angioplasty, a stent placement opens your arteries and increases blood flow to the heart muscle. Stents reduce your overall risk of experiencing narrowing of that same artery.
However, its still possible to have a heart attack in the future from a different clogged artery. Thats why adopting heart-healthy lifestyle habits is so impotant.
Making these changes can play an important role in helping prevent a future attack.
As a rule of thumb, you should see your doctor right away if you experience chest pain even after a stent placement. In the rare event that a stent closes, youll need surgery to open the artery up again.
Its also possible to experience a blood clot after getting a stent, which could increase your risk of a heart attack.
Your doctor will likely recommend taking aspirin, as well as prescription anti-clotting drugs, such as ticagrelor or clopidogrel to prevent blood clots.
A heart-healthy lifestyle can complement a medical treatment plan for heart disease. Consider your current lifestyle habits and look for ways you might improve them.
What A Heart Attack Doesnt Feel Like
Not all chest pain is a heart attack symptom. Pain isunlikely to be heart-related when it:
- Is momentary,lasting only for a few seconds.
- Feels like apricking sensation.
- Is in a small,well-localized area of your chest.
- Can bereproduced when you press on your chest or move your arm.
- Radiates belowyour abdomen and into your legs.
The best way to guard yourself from a heart attack is to eat a healthy diet, do regular aerobic activity, avoid smoking, manage diabetes if you have it, have regular checkups with your primary care provider, and know and control your cholesterol levels, says Dr. Menon.
If you notice a sudden changein your ability to perform physical activity, get to a doctor right away.
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Should I Still Call 999 Or Go To Hospital If I’m Worried About My Health
Whether or not you have coronavirus symptoms, it’s essential to dial 999 if you have symptoms that could be a heart attack, or if your heart symptoms get worse.
We are hearing that fewer people are being seen in hospital with heart attacks in recent weeks, which suggests that people are not seeking help when they should do. If you have any of the symptoms described above, you should call 999.
Don’t delay because you think hospitals are too busy – the NHS still has systems in place to treat people for heart attacks. If you delay, you are more likely to suffer serious heart damage and more likely to need intensive care and to spend longer in hospital.
Surprising Signs You May Be Having A Heart Attack
Luis Astudillo, M.D. contributes to topics such as Cardiology.
When people have heart attacks in movies, they usually clutch their chests dramatically, break out in a cold sweat and drop to the floor. In real life, some people experience heart attacks this way, but there are many other less obvious symptoms which may indicate that someone is having a heart attack.
Its important to know all of the signs including subtler ones to ensure that you get the emergency care that you need.
Many people who have heart attacks dont have classic symptoms, so they may think that theyre experiencing indigestion, fatigue or muscle soreness from physical exertion, says Luis Astudillo, M.D., a cardiologist at Palisades Medical Center. Women and older adults in particular may not exhibit the typical signs that many people would immediately recognize.
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Signs Of Heart Attack That You Shouldnt Ignore
About every 40 seconds, someone has a heart attack in the US. Most people imagine that having a heart attack is always intense. But the truth is that sometimes you may be unsure if your are suffering from a heart attack because the signs can be subtle and different from what you may typically think of.
This makes heart attacks very dangerous. In fact, 1 in 5 heart attacks goes unnoticed, meaning the heart muscle is damaged due to lack of blood supply but the person is not aware of that this has occurred.
So what are the signs of a heart attack both subtle and not-so-subtle? Here are 4 signs of heart attack to be on the lookout for:
Can You Prevent A Heart Attack
Heart attacks are usually the result of heart disease, so taking steps to delay or reverse coronary artery disease can help prevent a heart attack. Heart disease is a leading cause of death for both men and women, so these steps are important for everyone.
To improve your heart health:
- Don’t smoke, and avoid second-hand smoke. Quitting smoking can quickly reduce the risk of another heart attack or death.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet that includes plenty of fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, high-fibre grains and breads, and olive oil.
- Get regular exercise. Your doctor can suggest a safe level of exercise for you.
- Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Manage your diabetes.
- Lower your stress level. Stress can damage your heart.
- If you have talked about it with your doctor, take a low-dose aspirin every day. But taking aspirin isn’t right for everyone, because it can cause serious bleeding.
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Can A Stabbing Pain In The Chest Be A Heart Attack
Youll be on a treadmill and hooked up to an electrocardiogram machine which measures the electrical activity in the heart. This will help your doctor determine long-term treatment for your condition. Can a stabbing pain in the chest be a sign of a heart attack? Generally not.
Get Right to It. Typically, youll be in the hospital for 2 days to a week after a heart attack. But if you have complications, or if youve had other procedures, like bypass surgery, youll probably stay longer.
What A Mild Heart Attack Means
A mild heart attack is a common way of referring to what physicians call a non-ST elevation myocardial infarction, or NSTEMI. .
In this type of heart attack, blood flow through one of the coronary arteries was partially blocked, limiting the supply of oxygenated blood to the heart muscle.
If you were told youve had a mild heart attack, it probably means your heart didnt suffer much damage and still pumps normally, Dr. Campbell says.
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Symptoms You Never Suspected
So, what does a heart attack really feel like?According to Dr. Menon, patients most often report:
- Heartburn-like chest pain. Its quite common for heart attacks to feel like acid reflux.
- Shortness of breath. Some heart attacks dont cause pain at all. These silent heart attacks are most common in people with diabetes, older adults and those who have had bypass surgery.
- Profound fatigue. This symptom is most common in elderly patients and can be misdiagnosed as a flu-like illness.
- Nausea and sweating. While these symptoms can come with heavy chest pain, they also can occur by themselves, especially in women. These symptoms commonly accompany heart attacks to the inferior wall of the heart.
What Do These Early Symptoms Typically Look Like
Dr. Xu says the majority of patients experience somewhat typical symptoms, such as radiating chest pain, heaviness or discomfort, heart palpitations, cold sweats, and shortness of breath. Others — women more so than men — will experience some atypical symptoms as well, which may include fatigue, a general sense of unease, vague discomfort, back or abdominal pain and declining stamina. Both types of symptoms can be experienced months before an actual heart attack occurs.
Women Have Heart Attacks Too
We know that women tend to wait longer before calling 999 after experiencing heart attack symptoms. In the UK, an average of three women die of coronary heart disease every hour, many of them due to a heart attack.You dramatically reduce your chance of survival if you don’t call 999 straight away.
Most heart attacks are caused by coronary heart disease .
CHD causes your coronary arteries to become narrowed by a gradual build-up of fatty deposits called atheroma.
If a piece of atheroma breaks off, a blood clot forms around this to try and repair the damage to the artery wall.
This clot can block your coronary artery either a partial blockage or total blockage . This causes your heart muscle to be starved of blood and oxygen.
Other less common causes of a heart attack include:
- hypoxia .
Returning To Normal Activities
After a heart attack, most people who don’t have chest pain or discomfort or other problems can safely return to most of their normal activities within a few weeks. Most can begin walking right away.
Sexual activity also can begin within a few weeks for most patients. Talk with your doctor about a safe schedule for returning to your normal routine.
If allowed by state law, driving usually can begin within a week for most patients who don’t have chest pain or discomfort or other disabling problems. Each state has rules about driving a motor vehicle following a serious illness. People who have complications shouldn’t drive until their symptoms have been stable for a few weeks.
Have Sex When You’re Ready
You can resume sexual activity after a heart attack when you are healthy and feel ready for it. You could be ready if you can do mild or moderate activity, like brisk walking, without having angina symptoms. Talk with your doctor if you have any concerns. Your doctor can help you know if your heart is healthy enough for sex.
If you take a nitrate, like nitroglycerin, do not take erection-enhancing medicines. Combining a nitrate with one of these medicines can cause a life-threatening drop in blood pressure.
Recovery Is Mental As Well As Physical
Having a heart attack can be a major wake-up call that can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression. Patients are so terrified afterward that they are going to have another, says Dr. Costello. They really feel scared living their day-to-day life. It can also make you more aware of your own mortality. Many patients thought they were healthy beforehand and now they have a chronic issue thats going to need to be monitored foreverthat and realizing they could have died takes a huge mental toll, says Dr. Costello.
Talk to your doctor about any depression or anxiety that doesnt lift and look into joining a support group. Meeting other survivors and seeing them living their lives can be very helpful, says Dr. Costello.
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Risk Of A Repeat Heart Attack
Once you’ve had a heart attack, you’re at higher risk for another one. Knowing the difference between angina and a heart attack is important. Angina is chest pain that occurs in people who have ischemic heart disease.
The pain from angina usually occurs after physical exertion and goes away in a few minutes when you rest or take medicine as directed.
The pain from a heart attack usually is more severe than the pain from angina. Heart attack pain doesn’t go away when you rest or take medicine.
If you don’t know whether your chest pain is angina or a heart attack, call 911.
The symptoms of a second heart attack may not be the same as those of a first heart attack. Don’t take a chance if you’re in doubt. Always call 911 right away if you or someone else has heart attack symptoms.
Unfortunately, most heart attack victims wait 2 hours or more after their symptoms start before they seek medical help. This delay can result in lasting heart damage or death.