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How To Have A Heart Attack In 10 Easy Steps

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It could be the most important 60 seconds of your life, so now is the time to prepare yourself.

Seriously, to survive a heart attack, you need to know the signs and how to respond, well before it ever happens. You cant afford to wait. Not even for a minute.

A heart attack occurs when a coronary artery is blocked and blood cant reach the heart. When this happens, the heart muscle will begin to die. This can permanently damage your heart, and result in death.

Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of heart attack now, while youre healthy, and know what action to take before a heart attack ever strikes. The faster you get to a hospital, the greater your chances of restoring blood flow to the heart, saving heart muscle and your life.

Types And Prognosis Of Heart Attack

Heart attacks are divided into types based on severity:

STEMI Heart Attack This is the deadliest type of heart attack. It happens when a coronary artery is completely blocked.

STEMI is short for ST segment elevation myocardial infarction. This refers to changes that can be seen on an electrocardiogram .

Sometimes called a massive heart attack, a STEMI heart attack causes significantly reduced blood flow to the heart. As a result, areas of the heart muscle quickly begin to die.

NSTEMI Heart Attack This type of heart attack happens when blood flow to your heart through a coronary artery is severely restricted, but may not be entirely blocked.

NSTEMI stands for non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction.

Sometimes called a mini heart attack or a mild heart attack, an NSTEMI heart attack usually causes less damage to the heart than a STEMI heart attack, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Silent Heart Attack Some people have a heart attack with mild, brief symptoms or even no noticeable symptoms at all, which is why its known as a silent heart attack.

Although they dont involve severe symptoms, silent heart attacks are far from harmless. They can cause permanent damage to the heart muscle.

Silent heart attacks account for about 45 percent of all heart attacks, according to Harvard Medical School. They affect women more often than men.

Susan Madero 66 Los Angeles

On Valentine’s Day, 2015, Susan Madero was sitting in a movie theater watching American Sniper when she started feeling very full, as though she had eaten a big meal odd, because she hadn’t had dinner. Then the indigestion set in, and the sensation of a very large person sitting on her chest. Everything inside of her ribs started to tighten, and she grew short of breath. But Madero knew her husband wanted to see the end of the movie, and talked herself into believing the leftover Chinese food she ate at lunch was just giving her trouble. It wasn’t until I started having pain in my right shoulder and arm, followed with pain in the front of my neck and then up to my jaw, that I thought something was seriously wrong, she says. But even then she didn’t say anything. Being a woman, I didn’t want to make a big deal of this.”

After the movie ended she told her husband, Maybe we should go to the hospital. Once there, an EKG revealed nothing abnormal. And Madero felt so much better while waiting for further tests, she decided to go home. So, having been there an hour, Madero signed a waiver confirming that she was refusing further medical treatment, and left.

Now, she says, her mission is to make more women aware of the signs and symptoms of heart attack and heart disease, and not to shrug them off.”

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Take Medicine To Protect Your Heart

Medicines may be an important part of your treatment plan. Your doctor will prescribe medicine based on your specific needs. Medicine may help you

  • meet your A1C , blood pressure, and cholesterol goals.
  • reduce your risk of blood clots, heart attack, or stroke.
  • treat angina, or chest pain that is often a symptom of heart disease. Angina can also be an early symptom of a heart attack.
  • treat heart failure, which is a form of heart disease in which your heart cannot pump blood well enough for your body to work properly.

Ask your doctor whether you should take daily aspirin. Aspirin is not safe for everyone. Your doctor can tell you whether taking aspirin is right for you and exactly how much to take.

Statins can reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke in some people with diabetes. In addition, certain diabetes medicines have been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks and death in patients at very high risk of having a heart attack. Talk with your doctor to find out whether taking a statin or a diabetes medicine that reduces heart attack risk is right for you.

Take medicines the way your doctor or health care team tells you to. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about your medicines. Before you start a new medicine, ask your doctor about possible side effects and how you can avoid them. If the side effects of your medicine bother you, tell your doctor. Dont stop taking your medicines without checking with your doctor first.

How Soon Can I Return To Regular Activities

Make your blood vessels younger to avoid heart attack and ...

After a heart attack, you will want to go back to your regular life. This especially can be true if you spent time in the hospital. However, the answer depends on your normal routine and the condition of your heart. Its important to start slowly to give your heart a chance to heal. Your doctor will talk to you about when you can be active again and what you should do. Do not return to any kind of exercise without talking to your doctor first. It also is important to sign up for a cardiac rehabilitation program. This monitors your blood pressure, heart rate, and heartbeat as you exercise.

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What Should I Do If I Have Symptoms Of Heart Attack

If you think you may be having a heart attack, get treatment right away. Follow these steps:

  • Dial 911 Do not have someone else drive you to the hospital. Do not try to drive yourself. EMTs can give you life-saving treatment in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
  • After calling for help, take 1 uncoated adult aspirin or 4 uncoated baby aspirins . Dont take this if youre allergic to aspirin.
  • If you are alone and are able, unlock your door to let emergency personnel enter your home.
  • Sit in a comfortable chair and wait for help.
  • Keep a phone near you.

What Is A Heart Attack Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention

A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, occurs when there is a blockage in a coronary artery, affecting the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart.

Having a heart attack is a medical emergency. Blocked or reduced blood flow to your heart damages the heart muscle. If blood flow is not restored quickly, the heart muscle will begin to die, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

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High Stress Drives Up Your Risk Of A Heart Attack Here’s How To Chill Out

Getting back into exercise, if it’s been on the backburner for the past year, can be hard. But don’t overthink it, just get moving.

“Unfortunately, the notion for many people who aren’t exercising is ‘If I really want to exercise for cardiovascular health, I have to jog 5 miles a day or do something really, really strenuous,’ but we’re not as worried about the intensity of the exercise,” says Shapiro.

He tells patients that any type of movement they’re committed to doing every day will help. Activity as simple as brisk walking can do wonders for cardiovascular health. Other physical activity like climbing stairs, doing yard work or taking 10,000 steps at home can all benefit your heart when you’re doing it regularly.

Heart Tip : Chill Out

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Everyone knows that being stressed out isn’t a good feeling. Turns out, it goes a little deeper than that — stress can actually have some pretty severe effects on your body. Research scientists in Canada performed a study and found that people who had heart attacks and returned to a stressful career were twice as likely to have a second attack as those who held down reasonably stress-free jobs . University of London researchers found similar results for people who had stressful intimate relationships.

There’s an area at the base of your brain called the hypothalamus that sets off an alarm whenever you get stressed. This alarm sends a signal to your adrenal glands to release a surge of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. This is also known as the fight-or-flight response. Your heart rate increases, which elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. If you’re always stressed, then your body thinks it’s in a constant state of threat — not a good thing. Reducing your stress levels will lead to a reduced heart rate and ultimately help you to lower your blood pressure.

If you lead a stressful life, try to chill out by relaxing with friends after work. Take a walk or give meditation a try. Exercise and the right amount of sleep also go a long way toward combating your stress level. If none of these tricks work and you still find yourself stressed, see a professional counselor or psychotherapist. It can help your head and your heart.

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Whats The Difference Between A Heart Attack And A Cardiac Arrest

A heart attack is a sudden interruption to the blood supply to part of the heart muscle. Its likely to cause chest pain and permanent damage to the heart. The heart is still sending blood around the body, and the person remains conscious and is still breathing.

A cardiac arrest happens when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body. Someone whos having a cardiac arrest will suddenly lose consciousness and will stop breathing – or stop breathing normally. Unless immediately treated by cardiopulmonary resuscitation , this always leads to death within minutes.

A person having a heart attack is at high risk of experiencing a cardiac arrest.

Both a heart attack and a cardiac arrest are life-threatening medical emergencies and require immediate medical help.

Rapid Treatment Saves Lives

Treatment may begin immediately in the ED, even before doctors have confirmed that you are having a heart attack. This may include giving you aspirin or nitroglycerin, oxygen therapy, and/or treatment to reduce your chest pain.

If a heart attack is diagnosed , doctors will act quickly to restore blood flow to the heart. This may include giving you clot-busting medicines that dissolve the clots that are blocking the coronary arteries.

Another treatment is balloon angioplasty, in which a thin, flexible tube with a balloon at the end is threaded through your artery to the blockage. Once the blockage is reached, the balloon is inflated, pressing the clot against the artery walls and restoring blood flow. Doctors also may place a stent in the area of the blockage to hold the artery open and allow blood to continue to flow.

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How Can I Tell If I May Be Having Another Heart Attack

Heart attacks dont always happen exactly like in the movies: where the main character clutches their chest in pain and falls backward on the floor. The onset of a heart attack can be more subtle.

If youve had a heart attack, its important to keep an eye out for signs or symptoms that you are having another.

Listen to your body and call 911 right away if you have any of these common warning signs of a heart attackespecially if it lasts for more than a few minutes. Some of these may go away and then come back.

Upper body discomfort

You feel pressure, tightness, heaviness, burning, squeezing, or aching in the chest that moves to the armseveryone experiences it a little differently. Women are more likely than men to experience some of the other symptoms, particularly pain in the jaw and back.

Shortness of breath

You suddenly feel dizzy, lightheaded, and extremely weak. You start taking in deep breaths or are panting for air like youve just run up a hill, but for no apparent reason.

Abdominal discomfort

You feel heartburn, indigestion, or pain around your stomach. You might have nausea and throw up.

Unusual fatigue

Your usual exercise routine leaves you worn out. You feel extremely tired, even with everyday activities like making the bed or carrying the groceries.

Cold sweat

Your skin gets cold and clammy suddenly even though there is no obvious source of stress.

What Is A Cardiac Rehabilitation Program

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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.

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Heart Tip : Stop Smoking

File this one under no-brainer as well. Every smoker on the planet knows that it’s not good for them. The problem is that it’s really difficult to quit. So difficult that nearly two-thirds of adults who want to quit aren’t able to . So hard that almost half of patients that undergo surgery for lung cancer continue to smoke. That’s how tough it is. It’s also extremely bad for your heart.

When you smoke, the burning of the cigarette creates something called carbon monoxide — the same stuff that’s created when your car burns gasoline. The CO you inhale takes the place of the oxygen that’s carried to and from your heart by your red bloodcells. This basically poisons those cells and keeps them from carrying oxygen to the heart and from the heart to the rest of the body. This happens because CO is a master of disguise — it’s able to pass itself off as oxygen. So when you smoke, you’re basically starving your heart of oxygen, the one thing it needs to function properly. If you smoke a pack of smokes a day, the CO level in your bloodstream will stay between 4 and 8 percent . A normal amount of CO in your blood is extremely low — zero to eight parts per million.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of A Heart Attack

The most common symptom of a heart attack is chest pain or discomfort. Other symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • shortness of breath
  • to the neck, jaw or shoulders
  • paleness, sweating or weakness
  • chest pain with possible feelings of:
  • fullness
  • nausea, vomiting and possible indigestion
  • anxiety or fear
  • Most symptoms of a heart attack are the same for men and women.

    Women are more likely to feel some discomfort in the chest rather than a sharp pain or tightness. The milder symptoms do not mean that a woman’s heart attack is any less severe than a man’s heart attack. Any symptoms of a heart attack should be taken seriously.

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    Don’t Forget About Your Vitamins

    “The most important dietary stress leading to heart disease is a deficiency of B12 and folate. A deficit in either of these causes an increase in the cellular waste product homocysteine,” says Sheldon Zablow, MD. “As this toxin increases, it causes inflammation of the endothelial cells lining the blood vessels in the heart and it increases the thickness of the blood. This combination causes an increase in blood clots which leads to heart disease and strokes.”

    Duration Of A Heart Attack

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    If you experience symptoms that may indicate a heart attack for longer than five minutes, its important to seek emergency medical attention immediately.

    Dont delay treatment by waiting to see if your symptoms go away. Even if your symptoms let up or change, there may be ongoing damage to your heart.

    If treatment begins within an hour of the onset of symptoms, a heart attack is less likely to cause significant or long-lasting damage to your heart muscle.

    Unfortunately, many people delay treatment for a heart attack by several hours, increasing the risk of long-term disability or death.

    Depending on your treatment needs, you may need to be hospitalized for a heart attack for several days or longer.

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    What Type Of Medications May My Doctor Have Prescribed After My Heart Attack

    Procedures are not a permanent fix. The risk of another heart attack still remains.

    Your doctor probably prescribed you some new medications. Each medication has a specific purpose to help you in your recovery, so its very important to take them as prescribed. Some of these medications can reduce your risk of having another heart attack.

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