What Causes Heart Attacks
The most common cause of a heart attack is coronary heart disease. This is where fatty deposits, cholesterol and other substances build up in the walls of the coronary arteries that supply oxygen to the heart. Over time, this build-up hardens into plaque that can break off at any time and cause a blood clot which blocks the artery.
In some cases, heart attacks have another cause:
- Coronary artery spasm is an unusual narrowing of blood vessels that can stop blood flow to the heart.
- Spontaneous coronary artery dissection is a sudden tear in the wall of a coronary artery, which can also affect people who have few risk factors for heart disease.
Certain lifestyle factors are shown to increase your chances of heart disease and having a heart attack.
You Get Exhausted Easily
If you suddenly feel fatigued or winded after doing something you had no problem doing in the past — like climbing the stairs or carrying groceries from the car — make an appointment with your doctor right away.
“These types of significant changes are more important to us than every little ache and pain you might be feeling,” Bufalino says.
Extreme exhaustion or unexplained weakness, sometimes for days at a time, can be a symptom of heart disease, especially for women.
Sign Of Potential Heart Attack: You Have A Serious Snoring Problem
Snoring like a buzz saw, waking up gasping for air, or feeling tired despite going to bed at a reasonable time could all be signs that you have sleep apnea, a sleep disorder marked by pauses in breathing. And if left untreated, it could increase your chance for a heart attack.
Those pauses in breathing can seriously stress your body, raising your blood pressure, causing your heart to beat irregularly, and upping the risk for heart disease, says Segal. And all of those things can make a heart attack more likely.
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Discomfort Or Pain In Other Parts Of The Body
The chest is not the only part of the body that can feel discomfort during or prior to a heart attack. Discomfort in one or both arms, in your back, neck, jaw, or even stomach can be a symptom of a heart attack. In men, this pain is commonly experienced in their left arm, while in women both arms can be susceptible. Women should also be particularly leery of pain that begins in the chest and then travels to the back or pain in the lower left side of the jaw.
Is It True That After A Heart Attack One Should Avoid Exercise Busting The Myths
New Delhi: A very common tip to improve heart health is to exercise regularly. But what form of exercise is best for the heart and how much exercise is too much? There have been several myths about the impact of exercise on the heart, while some sound reasonable, there are many that are inaccurate. One such myth is that one should avoid exercising after a heart attack.
Avoiding exercise for the first few weeks after a heart attack may be advised. However, studies show that supervised exercise helps in improving the outcome for all patients. It is important to note that after a heart attack, one should begin a regular activity program to reduce the chance of additional heart problems. Most patients are provided with a prescription for cardiac rehabilitation which entails an exercise program, diet instruction, educational classes on lifestyle changes and emotional support through a peer support group.
While everyone recovers at a different pace, here are a few guidelines that one may follow to get started:
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When Should I See My Doctor
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.
What To Do When Youre Having A Heart Attack
- Chew one adult-strength aspirin to help keep your blood from clotting.
- Stay on the phone with the emergency operator as you wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself to the hospital.
If youre not sure its a heart attack, dont ignore your symptoms. Call for help anyway. If you are having a heart attack, the sooner you get to the hospital, the sooner your care team can work to restore blood flow and reduce further heart damage.
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Breaking Out In A Cold Sweat
Another common symptom is finding yourself breaking out in a cold sweat. The reason behind this symptom is that when you have clogged arteries, your heart requires more effort to pump blood, and sweating keeps your bodys temperature down during this extra effort.
For women, this means night sweats may not just be the result of menopause. They might also be a sign of heart problems.
If you experience any of these symptoms, make sure to consult your physician. Dont wait until it becomes urgent.
Heart Attack Symptoms In Women Vs Men
Women are more likely than men to have silent heart attacks and heart attacks without chest pain. Heart attacks are also more likely to start when a woman is at rest or experiencing mental stress.
That means its especially important for women to watch out for symptoms like shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, nausea or vomiting, or pain in the jaw, arms or back.
Also, we now know that young women are particularly prone to a type of heart event called a spontaneous coronary artery dissection , which we talk about in more depth below.
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Heart Attack Symptoms Are They Different For Men And Women
Three minute read
Every year, more than one million people in the U.S. suffer from a heart attack. This means every 40 seconds someone in the US experiences congestive heart failure. Although heart disease death rates have fallen steadily for men, the rates for women have decreased only slightly.
Why is there such a discrepancy between men and women? A lot of it has to do with the variances in symptoms of heart attacks for each gender.
Difference in heart attack symptoms for men and women
Chest tightening, sweating and pain in the shoulder and arm are the most well-known symptoms of a heart attack. For years, many believed these were the only symptoms to look out for, but as we learn more about cardiovascular disease, we find that there are significant differences in how men and women experience a heart attack.
Warning signs in men
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for men. In fact, 1 in every 4 males die from a heart attack. Men also experience heart attacks earlier in life compared to women. Men exhibit the following symptoms during a heart attack:
- Chest pain/tightening that feels like an elephant sitting on your chest. Also, a squeezing sensation that comes and goes or remains constant
- Upper body pain in the arms, left shoulder, back, neck, jaw or stomach
- Rapid heartbeats
- Cold sweat
Warning signs in women
Women are less likely to seek treatment
What to do if you think youre having a heart attack
Schedule regular check-ups
Myth : Heart Failure Is The ‘end Of The Road’ And Cannot Be Managed
Fact: Heart failure does not mean your heart has stopped working and is definitely not the ‘end of the road’. Although there is no definite cure, it can be treated, and symptoms can often be managed effectively.
Now that these myths have been addressed, you can be better prepared to track your heart health! If you or a loved one is experiencing any heart failure symptoms — consult a doctor immediately.
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Women And Heart Attack Warning Signs
Women may experience any of the heart attack warning signs. However, they can sometimes experience heart attacks slightly differently to men:
- the pain is more likely to spread as far as the shoulders, neck, abdomen and even the back
- the pain may feel more like indigestion and not be consistent
- there may not be pain but unexplained anxiety, nausea, dizziness, palpitations and cold sweat
Women may also experience unexplained tiredness prior to developing other heart attack symptoms.
What Does A Mini Heart Attack Feel Like
You must have often heard of other people having something called a mini heart attack or mild heart attack. Although there is no such term as a mini heart attack in the medical dictionary, it can be compared with a mild heart attack or a silent heart attack.
Mild heart attack;
- You get a mild heart attack when there is a partial block in your coronary artery that causes mild signs and symptoms of a heart attack.;
- If your doctor tells you that you have had a mild heart attack, it probably means your heart is not damaged much and is working properly.
Silent heart attack;;
- Sometimes, you may not even know that you have suffered a heart attack. Such a heart attack is usually said to be a silent heart attack. Your doctor accidentally may discover a past attack on your routine ECG when you go for your regular check-up.;
- While in other instances, a heart problem or another heart attack could make the doctor suspect that you may have had a silent heart attack. This may similarly show up in your ECG when you visit your doctor for a different heart problem.
- Such a heart attack might have occurred months or years before without you even knowing about it.;
- A silent heart attack is usually lacking the typical signs and symptoms of a heart attack, such as shortness of breath. Symptoms of a heart attack like mild pain in the throat or chest can be confused with hyperacidity, indigestion, and heartburn.
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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.
Your Legs Feet And Ankles Are Swollen
This could be a sign that your heart doesnât pump blood as effectively as it should.
When the heart can’t pump fast enough, blood backs up in the veins and causes bloating.
Heart failure can also make it harder for the kidneys to remove extra water and sodium from the body, which can lead to bloating.
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Let’s Win This Together
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women. Support the innovative research, education and prevention services that protect the women we love.
Weve all seen the movie scenes where a man gasps, clutches his chest and falls to the ground. In reality, a heart attack victim could easily be a woman, and the scene may not be that dramatic.
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.
Myth : Heart Failure Is The Same As A Heart Attack
Fact: While heart failure and heart attacks, both fall under the category of cardiovascular diseases, they vary immensely. A heart attack refers to a sudden blockage of blood flow to your heart. On the other hand, heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition wherein the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently.
However, a heart attack can cause heart failure, alongside various other heart failure risk factors, including other heart diseases, hypertension, lung or kidney disease, diabetes, obesity or unhealthy lifestyle patterns.
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Take Care Of Yourself
Heart disease is preventable. Here are Goldbergs top tips:
- Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to learn your personal risk for heart disease.
- Quit smoking. Did you know that just one year after you quit, youll cut your risk of coronary heart disease;by 50 percent?
- Start an exercise program. Just walking 30 minutes a day;can lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.
- Modify your familys diet if needed. Check out these healthy cooking tips. Youll learn smart substitutions, healthy snacking ideas and better prep methods. For example, with poultry, use the leaner light meat instead of the fattier dark meat , and be sure to remove the skin.
Heart Attack Symptoms In Men #: Cold Sweats And Dizziness
The more vague signs of a heart attack in men include breaking out in a cold sweat, feeling sick to your stomach, or experiencing lightheadedness. The dizziness that might hit you may be so strong that you faint.
You may not have any of these symptomsor you may experience all of them, as well as chest pain and difficulty breathing.
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Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection
SCAD is a type of heart attack that happens when the inner lining of a coronary artery tears for no clear reason, slowing or blocking blood flow down the artery.
SCAD can occur in otherwise healthy people who do not have the typical risk factors of heart disease. And according to an article in Clinical Cardiology , about 90% of SCADs happen to women between the age of 30 and 60.
When Should I See A Doctor
Its important not to ignore symptoms and wait until they become severe. If you have a concern, talk to your doctor. If heart disease is caught early, there are many lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of further problems: eat a;healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, get regular;exercise , maintain a healthy weight, drink alcohol in moderation , and dont smoke.
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What To Do If You Experience Heart Attack Symptoms
Unlike the classic crushing chest pain, these symptoms dont guarantee that your heart is in immediate danger. But they could indicate that trouble could be brewing down the road, so make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as you can.
If youre fortunate enough to have symptoms, listen to your body and get them checked out, Park says.
If your doctor suspects that a heart attack could be looming, he might recommend an EKG, a test measures the hearts electrical activity and shows if your heart is damaged. He might also call for a coronary angiogram, which detects blockages in your arteries.
And if you experience any classic symptoms that signal youre having a heart attack right now, call 911 ASAP. These include chest pressure or tightness, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, breaking out into a cold sweat, or discomfort in the arms, neck, or jaw.
Of course, the best way to prevent a heart attack is to improve overall health by lowering high blood pressure, maintaining a normal body weight, and abstaining from smoking.
Defending Against An Attack
This means scheduling regular medical checkups and learning to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack, says Healthline. If you have any cardiac risk factors , specifically ask for tests to check the condition of your heart.
Why Choose The Hospitals Of Providence For Your Early Heart Attack Care
The Hospitals of Providence has EHAC teams who genuinely care about you and your loved ones. Our hospitals are located across El Paso to provide accessible care to the communities in this city and nearby areas. At the same time, we have received multiple recognitions for the compassionate care and patient-centered cardiovascular services we offer.
Some of the accreditations and recognitions we received in recent years are as follows:
For Sierra Campus
- Chest Pain Reaccreditation by the Society of Cardiovascular Care
- ACC HeartCARE Center Designation by the American College of Cardiology
- Grade A rating for patient safety in the Leapfrog Groups Fall 2019 Safety Score
Risk Factors For Heart Disease
Many men are at high risk of developing heart disease. The AHA reported in 2013 that only a quarter of men met federal guidelines for physical activity in 2011. They also estimated that 72.9 percent of U.S. men age 20 and older are overweight or obese. And about 20 percent of men smoke, which can cause the blood vessels to narrow. Narrowed blood vessels are a precursor to certain types of heart disease.
Other risk factors include:
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