Angina Vs Heart Attack
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:
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.
When Is Chest Pain A Heart Attack
Many people delay calling 999 when having chest pain as they often think it isnt serious. You should dial 999 immediately if your chest pain:
- spreads to you arms, back, neck or jaw
- feels heavy or tight.
- you become short of breath or start to feel sick.
If your chest pain doesnt match these characteristics and you arent experiencing any other heart attack symptoms, there may be other explanations for your chest pain. These include angina, indigestion or a strained muscle.If you frequently experience unexplained chest pain, book an appointment with your GP as its possible you may have an undiagnosed heart condition.
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Waiting For An Ambulance
If you have had a heart attack, it’s important that you rest while you wait for an ambulance, to avoid unnecessary strain on your heart.
If aspirin is available and you are not allergic to it, slowly chew and then swallow an adult-size tablet while you wait for the ambulance.
Aspirin helps to thin your blood and improve blood flow to your heart.
How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Having A Heart Attack
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.
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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.
Common Menopause Symptoms Linked To Increased Risk Of Heart Attacks Warns Study
A new study has warned that menopausal symptoms, including hot flushes, night sweats and the duration of a womans last period, could be increasing her risk for cardiovascular disease
The lack of knowledge and understanding towards the condition is causing some women to retire from their jobs earlier.
In fact, a poll of 2,000 women commissioned by Koru Kids found 18% were looking to leave their jobs because of symptoms, which equates to roughly 1,057,00 women.
Alongside a significant lack of support for menopausal woman, a new study has found that the duration of a womans last menstrual cycle could be increasing her risk for a heart attack or stroke. So whats the link?
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Q How Is Smoking Related To A Heart Attack
- 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.
Q What Happens During A Heart Attack
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Menstrual Cycle Could Determine Heart Disease Risk
Menopause is synonymous with changes to womens menstrual cycle length, with periods often becoming longer as we approach the menopause.
The researchers hypothesised that cycle length during the menopause transition could predict future cardiovascular health.
In the study, published recently in the journal Menopause, researchers found a link with regards to timing of the cycle and increased cardiovascular diseases.
Data was analysed from 428 participants aged between 45 and 52 who were enrolled in the ongoing Study of Womens Health Across the Nation.
They were followed for up to 10 years or until postmenopausal, measuring both arterial stiffness or artery thickness.
Participants had either stable cycles that didnt change before menopause , whereas around 16% to 22% experienced either late or early increase in cycle length before their final menstrual period.
Women who experienced longer cycle-length changes two years prior to their final period had better measures of vascular health compared to those who had stable cycles.
Researchers concluded that women in the late-increase group of cycles had more favourable measures of artery hardness and thickness, thereby lowering their risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Women in the early-increase group had the poorest measures of artery health.
The reason why cardiovascular disease risk was higher in women who had stable cycles is not clear.
Oestrogen has been found to be less protective in older age.
Warning Signs Your Body Gives You Before A Heart Attack
Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in both men and women worldwide. Contrast to what you may see in a movie, the signs of a heart attack can be hard to miss. “Two-thirds of women will have less-typical, non-Hollywood heart attack symptoms,” says C. Noel Bairey Merz, M.D., director of the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles.
Though symptoms like chest tightness and upper body pain are more obvious, heart attacks present a host of symptoms that can be easily mistaken for another ailment . Identifying the signs of a heart attack and seeking early intervention can be the difference between life or death. Here are the most common symptoms to look out for.
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When To Call 9
Any time you think you might be having a heart attack, dont ignore it. even if you are not sure that youre having a heart attack.
- Acting fast can limit damage to your heart and save your life. The 9-1-1 operator or emergency medical services personnel can give you advice that can help prevent damage to your heart.
- An ambulance is the best and safest way to get to the hospital. Do not drive to the hospital or let someone else drive you. EMS personnel can check how you are doing and start tests and lifesaving medicines right away. People who arrive by ambulance often get faster treatment at the hospital.
Every minute matters. Never delay calling 9-1-1, taking aspirin or doing anything else you think might help.
Knowing the difference between stable angina and a heart attack is important.
- The pain from angina usually happens after physical activity and goes away in a few minutes when you rest or take medicine to treat it.
- The pain from a heart attack is more serious than the pain from angina. Heart attack pain doesnt go away when you rest or take medicine.
If you dont know whether your chest pain is angina or a heart attack,
Learn What a Heart Attack Feels Like
A heart attack often causes cardiogenic shock. Its important to learn the warning signs of a heart attack and what to do if you are experiencing symptoms.
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Although men and women can experience chest pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure, said Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYUs Langone Medical Center and an American Heart Association volunteer. Instead they may experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure or extreme fatigue.
Even when the signs are subtle, the consequences can be deadly, especially if the victim doesnt get help 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.
Symptoms Of A Heart Attack In Women
In recent decades, scientists have realized that heart attack symptoms can be quite different for women than for men.
While pain and squeezing sensations in the chest are still the most common symptoms in women, many frequently self-reported symptoms differ greatly from those common in men. Lack of knowledge about the differences in symptoms across genders may be one of the reasons why women generally wait longer than men do to seek out care if they suspect they are having a heart attack.
Symptoms of heart attack in women include:
- unusual fatigue lasting for several days or sudden severe fatigue
- sleep disturbances
- upper back, shoulder, or throat pain
- jaw pain or pain that spreads up to your jaw
- pressure or pain in the center of your chest, which may spread to your arm
Base your decision to seek care on what feels normal and abnormal for you. If you are experiencing symptoms that feel new to you, and dont agree with your doctors conclusion, get a second opinion.
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Diagnosis Of A Heart Attack
Tests to help diagnose a heart attack include:
- a blood test to measure levels of enzymes released into the blood when the heart muscle is damaged
- cardiac catheterisation a tube, or catheter, is threaded into the coronary arteries via a blood vessel in the groin. A special dye is then injected into the coronary artery. This outlines the artery while movie x-rays are taken. Narrowings and blockages within the artery are outlined by the dye
- electrocardiogram a reading of the hearts electrical impulses.
What’s The Difference Between A Cardiac Arrest And A Heart Attack
The phrases cardiac arrest and heart attack are often confused, however are different.If youre having a cardiac arrest you will be unconscious, not breathing or not breathing normally. Your heart has stopped pumping blood around your body and youll need CPR and medical attention immediately. During a heart attack you’ll be conscious and breathing, but experiencing chest pain or discomfort.A heart attack is a medical emergency and can lead to cardiac arrest so its important to seek medical attention straight away.
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Why Should I Call 911 If I Can Drive Myself To The Hospital
If you have any symptoms of a heart attack, its best to call 911 for multiple reasons:
- First responders can do some of the early testing and treatment for a heart attack on the way to the hospital. This can speed up the overall diagnosis and treatment process.
- If you come into the hospital by ambulance, you usually have more immediate access to care. When youre having a heart attack, every second matters.
- Heart attacks can cause your heart to beat irregularly or stop entirely, either of which could cause you to pass out. If youre in an ambulance when that happens, first responders can react immediately to stabilize you. You also wont have to worry about passing out behind the wheel and causing a crash that could have devastating consequences for yourself or others.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
A blocked artery needs immediate care to prevent permanent heart damage. You may think that if your symptoms are not intense and severe, youre not having a heart attack. However, its best to get your symptoms checked. Calling 911, rather than driving yourself or having someone else drive you, can be even more life-saving than you think. Time saved is heart muscle saved, and that means you have a better chance of a good outcome.
What Does Depression Have To Do With A Heart Attack
Depression is common after a heart attack. As many as 1 out of every 3 people who have had a heart attack report feelings of depression. People with a higher risk of depression after a heart attack include:
- People who have had depression before
- People who feel alone and without social or emotional support
Many people who have depression dont recognize it. They dont seek help or get treatment. Being depressed can make it harder for you to recover physically. Depression can be treated.
Some people have anxiety after a heart attack, fearing it will happen again. Talk to your doctor about your feelings so that you can manage or reduce your anxiety.
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How Can You Prevent A Heart Attack
You should have regular physical exams by your doctor to test risk factors, in order to prevent a heart attack from occurring.
Leading a healthy life is the main way to avoid a heart attack. You must also know your family history and if you have unhealthy blood cholesterol levels or high blood pressure, take the appropriate preventative medication recommended by your doctor.
Lifestyle changes include:
Treatment For A Heart Attack
Treatments for a heart attack may include:
- strong blood thinning medications to rapidly dissolve blood clots that may be blocking a coronary artery
- angioplasty and stent implantation a procedure to open up a blocked coronary artery using a balloon at the point of narrowing.
Once the artery is open, a special expandable metal tube is left in place to keep it open, and the balloon is withdrawn
- long-term use of medicines to lower the risk of heart attack or death in the future. Be advised by your doctor. Medicines may include: a small regular dose of aspirin and an additional blood thinning medication , a statin and a beta-blocker.
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