Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels
It is essential that you have your vitamin D levels tested annually as a deficiency of this vitamin increases your risk for a heart attack by 50 percent. In order to get its health benefits, you must maintain a level of 40 ng/ml or 5,000-6,000 IUs per day. I highly recommend sun exposure as your best source of vitamin D, although some foods and vitamin D3 supplements are considered to be good sources as well.
Tell The Paramedics About Your Drug List
In the middle of a crisis you may not be able to recall or communicate all the medications you take. Always keep a complete list of your drugs, including the dosages, with you in your wallet or purse, says Dr. Mintz. Are you allergic to any medications? If so, add the names of those drugs to your list. This information could be vital for both the paramedics who administer first aid and the medical professionals who treat you in the ER. Finally, make sure your loved ones have current copies of your list in case they need to speak for you.
What Is A Silent Heart Attack
A heart attack is called silent when it has no symptoms, mild symptoms or symptoms people dont connect to a heart attack. Also known as a myocardial infarction, a heart attack means your heart isnt getting oxygen. This injures your heart. Usually, a blood clot causes a heart attack by keeping blood from flowing through one of your coronary arteries. Less often, a coronary artery spasm can cut off your blood flow.
Heart attacks can happen when youre asleep or awake. They can happen when:
- You just went through something very physically or emotionally stressful.
- You quickly become more physically active.
- Youre physically active outside in the cold.
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Telltale Symptoms Of Heart Attacks In Women According To A Cardiologist
Heart attacks can happen to anyone. But the symptoms of a heart attack in women are different than those in a male.
The American Heart Association explains that women are more likely to die from a heart attack than men are. One in three women die of a heart attack, and this high rate is likely due to the differing symptoms.
Most people know the common symptoms of a heart attack but dont realize that women experience it differently. While chest pain is a sign, it isnt the only one, and some women dont experience it at all. Sometimes the pain feels more like pressure or heartburn than people realize, too.
A heart attack happens when the blood flow to your heart becomes disrupted. Research shows that women might experience symptoms for weeks before the attack, as they dont typically occur suddenly. Plus, symptoms can seem to stop and then start again later.
According to the CDC, heart attacks are the leading cause of death in women in the United States. Knowing the silent signs of a heart attack in women can be life-saving. The sooner medical treatment begins, the more likely the person is to survive.
Have Someone Call An Ambulance
If others are around, tell them to stay with you until emergency medical services workers arrive. Calling 911 is usually the fastest way to get emergency care, as opposed to asking someone to drive you to a hospital in their car. EMS workers are trained to revive people experiencing heart attacks and can also transport you to the hospital for rapid care.
If youre in a public space such as a store, school, library, or workplace, theres a good chance theres a defibrillator on hand.
A defibrillator is the kind of device EMS workers use to revive people who are experiencing heart attacks. If youre still conscious at the onset of your heart attack, instruct someone nearby to find the closest defibrillator. Defibrillators come with easy-to-use instructions, so its possible for a non-EMS worker to revive you if the heart attack strikes.
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How Is A Heart Attack Treated
Quick treatment to get the blood flowing to your heart muscle again is important. This can reduce the amount of permanent damage to your heart and save your life.
Many people need to have emergency treatment to restore the blood flow:
- Coronary angioplasty re-opens the blocked coronary artery by inserting one or more stents. This helps keep the narrowed artery open.
- Thrombolysis involves giving you clot-busting medicine to dissolve the blood clot that’s blocking the coronary artery.
- Coronary bypass surgery helps to restore normal blood flow by using a blood vessel from your leg, arm or chest in your heart to bypass the blocked artery.
You might not have these treatments if your doctor decides it’s not safe or necessary.
Q Are There Any Female
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Preventing A Heart Attack
There are 5 main steps you can take to reduce your risk of having a heart attack :
- smokers should quit smoking
- lose weight if you’re overweight or obese
- do regular exercise adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, unless advised otherwise by the doctor in charge of your care
- eat a low-fat, high-fibre diet, including wholegrains and at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day
- moderate your alcohol consumption
Watch How To Help Someone Who May Be Having A Heart Attack
What is angina?
Angina is a tight feeling in the chest.
The tight feeling happens because the arteries narrow, restricting the blood supply to the heart. Angina often happens when a person is exercising or excited. Symptoms include chest pain and shortness of breath but, unlike a heart attack, symptoms ease with rest and taking prescribed medication.
Most people diagnosed with angina manage it with tablets or spray medication. During an angina attack, the pain should reduce if the person rests and takes their prescribed medication. Call 999 if the pain doesnt reduce after two doses of medication, as they may be having a heart attack.
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What Is The Link Between Diabetes Heart Disease And Stroke
High blood glucose from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels. Over time, this damage can lead to heart disease.1
People with diabetes tend to develop heart disease at a younger age than people without diabetes. Adults with diabetes are nearly twice as likely to have heart disease or stroke as adults without diabetes.2,3
The good news is that the steps you take to manage your diabetes also help lower your chances of having heart disease or stroke.
Q What Happens During A Heart Attack
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What Are The Warning Signs Of Heart Attack And Stroke
- pain or pressure in your chest that lasts longer than a few minutes or goes away and comes back
- pain or discomfort in one or both of your arms or shoulders, or your back, neck, or jaw
- shortness of breath
- indigestion or nausea
- feeling very tired
Treatment works best when it is given right away. Warning signs can be different in different people. You may not have all the listed symptoms.
Women may experience chest pain, nausea, and vomiting feel very tired and have pain that spreads to the back, neck, throat, arms, shoulders, or jaw. People with diabetes-related nerve damage may not notice any chest pain.
If you have angina, its important to know how and when to seek medical treatment.
- weakness or numbness of your face, arm, or leg on one side of your body
- confusion, or trouble talking or understanding
- dizziness, loss of balance, or trouble walking
- trouble seeing out of one or both eyes
- sudden, severe headache
If you have any one of these warning signs, call 9-1-1. You can help prevent permanent damage by getting to a hospital within an hour of a stroke.
What Causes A Heart Attack
The vast majority of heart attacks occur because of a blockage in one of the blood vessels that supply your heart. This most often happens because of plaque, a sticky substance that can build up on the insides of your arteries . That buildup is called atherosclerosis.
Sometimes, plaque deposits inside the coronary arteries can break open or rupture, and a blood clot can get stuck where the rupture happened. If the clot blocks the artery, this can deprive the heart muscle of blood and cause a heart attack.
Heart attacks are possible without a blockage, but this is rare and only accounts for about 5% of all heart attacks. This kind of heart attack can occur for the following reasons:
- Spasm of the artery: Your blood vessels have a muscle lining that allows them to become wider or narrower as needed. Those muscles can sometimes twitch or spasm, cutting off blood flow to heart muscle.
- Rare medical conditions: An example of this would be any disease that causes unusual narrowing of blood vessels.
- Trauma: This includes tears or ruptures in the coronary arteries.
- Obstruction that came from elsewhere in the body: A blood clot or air bubble that gets trapped in a coronary artery.
- Electrolyte imbalances: Having too much or too little of key minerals like potassium in your blood can cause a heart attack.
- Eating disorders: Over time, an eating disorder can cause damage to your heart and ultimately result in a heart attack.
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Chew Some Aspirin While You Wait For The Ambulance
Heart attacks occur when a clot forms and blocks the flow of blood to your heart. Aspirin works quickly to counter those clots to help blood flow more easily. After youve called 911, chewdont swallow wholefour baby aspirins or one adult aspirin, Dr. Mintz recommends. Chewing helps get the aspirin into your bloodstream quickly so that it can start to do its work. Keep in mind: You should avoid aspirin if you are allergic to it or your doctor has advised you never to take it. Consider asking your doctor if you are safe to take aspirin in case of an emergency.
Q Does Your Body Warn You Before A Heart Attack
- Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, pain or discomfort in the chest.
- Discomfort or pain in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath.
- Cold sweat or lightheadedness.
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Pressure In The Lower Chest Or Upper Abdomen
Another sign of heart attack in women is pressure or discomfort in the lower chest or upper abdomen. Some women describe the feeling as being similar to a bra that is too tight.
Just like with chest pain, this pressure can go away for a while only to come back. If that happens to you, it could be a sign of a heart attack.
When the pressure happens in the lower chest area, many people mistake it for a stomach issue. Sometimes the discomfort seems to spread to other parts of your body, as well.
What Happens During A Heart Attack
When a heart attack happens, blood flow to a part of your heart stops or is far below normal, which causes that part of your heart muscle to die. When a part of your heart cant pump because its dying from lack of blood flow, it can disrupt the pumping sequence for the entire heart. That reduces or even stops blood flow to the rest of your body, which can be deadly if it isnt corrected quickly.
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Will I Have To Take Medicine For The Rest Of My Life
If you have had a heart attack, your doctor will probably want you to take certain medicines for a long time. This can help reduce your risk of more heart problems. Your doctor can answer your questions about these medicines. He or she can tell you the benefits and risks of taking them.
- Aspirin can reduce the risk of a heart attack. A low dose of aspirin each day can keep your blood from forming clots that can eventually block the arteries. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of aspirin therapy.
- Antiplatelet medicines also help stop blood clots from forming. These drugs are especially important to take for at least a year if you have had a stent placed in your heart.
- Beta blockers are a group of drugs that lower the heart rate and blood pressure. They help improve blood flow to the heart.
- ACE inhibitors are a group of drugs that can help if your heart is not pumping blood well. This medicine helps open your arteries and lower your blood pressure. This improves blood flow.
- Statins are a group of drugs that are used to control cholesterol. They lower bad cholesterol levels and may help increase good cholesterol .
How Are Heart Attacks Treated
Treating a heart attack means restoring blood flow to the affected heart muscle as soon as possible. This can happen in a variety of ways, ranging from medication to surgery. It’s extremely likely that treatment will use several of the following methods.
People having trouble breathing or with low blood oxygen levels will often receive supplementary oxygen along with other heart attack treatments. You can breathe the oxygen either through a tube that sits just below your nose or a mask that fits over your nose and mouth. This increases the amount of oxygen circulating in the blood and reduces the strain on your heart.
- Anti-clotting medications: This includes aspirin and other blood-thinning medicines.
- Nitroglycerin: This medicine is used to relieve chest pain. It also is a powerful vasodilator, meaning it causes blood vessels to widen so blood can pass through more easily.
- Thrombolytic medications: These intravenous medications cause blood clots to break down and dissolve. These medications are usually used only within the first 12 hours after a heart attack.
- Anti-arrhythmia medications: Heart attacks can often cause malfunctions in your hearts normal beating rhythm called arrhythmias. Some arrhythmias can be life-threatening. Anti-arrhythmia medications can stop or prevent these malfunctions.
- Pain medications: The most common pain medication given during heart attack care is morphine. This can help alleviate chest pain.
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Is Acute Coronary Syndrome The Same As A Heart Attack
Acute coronary syndrome is a life-threatening condition that requires emergency medical care and can result in a heart attack. Acute coronary syndrome is a name given to three types of coronary artery disease associated with a sudden rupture of plaque inside the coronary artery:
- ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction or heart attack .*
- Non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction or heart attack .*
The location of the blockage, the length of time that blood flow is blocked and the amount of damage that occurs determine the type of acute coronary syndrome.
*See the Electrocardiogram description in the Diagnosis & Tests section for an explanation of STEMI and non-STEMI heart attacks.
How Is A Heart Attack Diagnosed
A heart attack is a medical emergency. If youre experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack, call Triple Zero and ask for an ambulance. An ambulance is the safest way to go to hospital and the quickest way to seek treatment. Treatment can start when ambulance staff arrive, saving precious minutes and preventing damage to your heart muscle. Once you get to hospital, your doctor will perform tests to diagnose if youre having a heart attack. These tests will also measure the amount of damage caused to your heart and the best treatment course to take.These tests include:
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Actions You Can Take During A Heart Attack
- request an ambulance for the quickest and safest transportation to the hospital.
- If you are driving, pull over you can lose consciousness very quickly. Even if a hospital is nearby, do not drive yourself.
- Take an aspirin Chewing slowly on an aspirin can help slow down the heart attack and buy more time for responders.
- Relax your body as much as possible the more physical activity you perform, the faster the heart attack will progress.
- Try to cool your body temperature If possible, put a cool cloth under your armpits or on your wrists to help speed up the process.
While none of these suggestions are guaranteed to stop a heart attack, they can help buy some time to get to a hospital. Take signs and symptoms of heart attacks very seriously and get help as soon as possible.
If you think you may have heart disease, or be at risk for a heart attack, consult your primary care physician or visit UPMCs Heart and Vascular Institute.