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What Are Some Causes Of Heart Attacks

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  • get worse quickly, or
  • last longer than 10 minutes
  • 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 Are The Causes Of Heart Disease

    Heart disease occurs when plaque develops in the arteries and blood vessels that lead to the heart. This blocks important nutrients and oxygen from reaching your heart.

    Plaque is a waxy substance made up of cholesterol, fatty molecules, and minerals. Plaque accumulates over time when the inner lining of an artery is damaged by high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, or elevated cholesterol or triglycerides.

    Several risk factors play an important role in determining whether or not youre likely to develop heart disease. Two of these factors, age and heredity, are out of your control.

    The risk of heart disease around the age of 55 in women and 45 in men. Your risk may be greater if you have close family members who have a history of heart disease.

    Other risk factors for heart disease include:

    National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases estimates that people with type 2 diabetes and especially those who have reached middle age are twice as likely to have heart disease or experience a stroke as people who dont have diabetes.

    Adults with diabetes tend to have heart attacks at a younger age. Theyre more likely to experience multiple heart attacks if they have insulin resistance or high blood glucose levels.

    The reason for this is the relationship between glucose and blood vessel health.

    You should also maintain a healthy weight. And if you smoke, nows a good time to consider quitting.

    Cause Of Most Heart Attacks Found

    Researchers Say They May Know What Causes 90% of Heart Attacks

    Aug. 30, 2004 — Heart researchers say nine risk factors — ones that you can do something about — account for 90% of all heart attacks.

    Previously, researchers thought that only about half of heart attacks were explained by risk factors such as smoking or cholesterol. But now they say that the cause of almost all heart attacks can be pinpointed to one or more of the following:

    These risk factors are equal-opportunity killers — black or white, Asian or American, young or old, man or woman — all can fall victim by these same risks. Diet, exercise, and moderate consumption of alcohol can decrease risk of heart disease, but cannot reverse the potential danger posed by risks such as high cholesterol or smoking, says Salim Yusuf, MD, who led the study.

    Studies have shown that men who drink up to two alcohol drinks a day and women who drink up to one a day have a lower risk of heart disease. One drink is generally considered to be four to five ounces of wine, a 12-ounce beer, or 1 ounce of liquor.

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    What Causes A Heart Attack

    The most common cause of a heart attack is coronary artery disease, which is the most common type of heart disease. This is when your coronary arteriescannot carry enough oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle. Most of the time, coronary artery disease happens when a waxy substance called plaque builds up inside your arteries, causing the arteries to narrow. The buildup of this plaque is called atherosclerosis. This can happen over many years, and it can block blood flow to parts of your heart muscle. Plaques that narrow arteries slowly over time cause angina.

    Eventually, an area of plaque can break open inside your artery. This causes a blood clot to form on the plaques surface. If the clot becomes large enough, it can block blood flow to your heart. If the blockage isnt treated quickly, a part of your heart muscle begins to die.

    Figure A shows damage caused by a heart attack. Figure B shows the coronary artery with plaque buildup and a blood clot.

    Did We Answer Your Question About Heart Attack

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    For more information about heart attack, call the OWH Helpline at 1-800-994-9662 or check out the following resources from other organizations:

    • Heart Attack â Information from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
    • Heart Attack â Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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    The Most Common Signs Of A Heart Attack For Both Men And Women Include:

    • Chest pain or discomfort – Most heart attacks cause pain or discomfort in the center or left side of the chest. This feeling can be mild or severe. The discomfort typically lasts longer than a few minutes and can go away and return. It may feel like pressure, fullness, pain, or squeezing in the chest.
    • Upper body discomfort – Heart attacks may cause pain or discomfort in one or both arms, shoulders, back, neck, jaw, or upper stomach.
    • Shortness of breath – Shortness of breath may be the only symptom of a heart attack or may occur before or with chest pain. It can occur while resting or doing physical activity.

    Know Your Heart Care Options

    You cant predict if a heart attack will happen. But knowing where you can get the right heart care is one thing you can do. Our nationally recognized cardiac centers include:

    • Regions Hospital Heart Center in St. Paul, MN, is consistently recognized as one of the nations top cardiac centers. Youll get the highest level of care in every situation, starting with emergency treatment all the way through the recovery process.
    • Park Nicollet Heart and Vascular Center, located in St. Louis Park, MN, is nationally recognized for offering outstanding, responsive care for heart attacks and other cardiac conditions. This center is accredited as a Mission: Lifeline® Heart Attack Receiving Center by the American Heart Association, so you can expect first-rate treatment, especially in time-sensitive situations.
    • Cardiac rehabilitation services are offered across the Twin Cities and western Wisconsin. Recovering from a heart attack takes time, but you dont have to go through it alone. We offer personalized cardiac rehabilitation at seven convenient locations, so its easy to get the support you and your heart need.

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    Substance Abuse Takes A Toll On Your Heart

    The experts are still studying the effect of marijuana on your heart, but they know that it boosts your heart rate and raises your risk of having a heart attack. Cocaines impact on your heart, however, is well established. Cocaine increases your heart rate, tightens your blood vessels, and raises your blood pressure, all of which are associated with heart attacks.

    Many heart attacks are preventable because you can change your risk factors by making lifestyle changes and taking medications if needed to protect your health. You can get all the support you need to prevent a heart attack at the Cardio Metabolic Institute.

    We have a team of cardiologists, weight management experts, and physical therapists ready to provide holistic health care that addresses all your cardiovascular risk factors regardless of your age. To get started on the road to a long, healthy life, call or book an appointment online.

    What Is A Cardiac Rehabilitation Program

    What Causes a Heart Attack?

    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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    Symptoms Of Heart Attacks And Strokes

    Often, there are no symptoms of the underlying disease of the blood vessels. A heart attack or stroke may be the first sign of underlying disease. Symptoms of a heart attack include:

    • pain or discomfort in the centre of the chest and/or
    • pain or discomfort in the arms, the left shoulder, elbows, jaw, or back.

    In addition the person may experience difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath nausea or vomiting light-headedness or faintness a cold sweat and turning pale. Women are more likely than men to have shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, andback or jaw pain.

    The most common symptom of a stroke is sudden weakness of the face, arm, or leg, most often on one side of the body. Other symptoms include sudden onset of:

    • numbness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
    • confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding speech
    • difficulty seeing with one or both eyes
    • difficulty walking, dizziness and/or loss of balance or coordination
    • severe headache with no known cause and/or
    • fainting or unconsciousness.

    People experiencing these symptoms should seek medical care immediately.

    Walking For Heart Health

    Walking is a great activity for heart health. Getting involved with a Heart Foundation Walking group is a fun and social way to be active. You can also register for a free Personal Walking Plan. Visit Heart Foundation Walking for more information.

    Walking for an average of 30 minutes or more a day can:

    • lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes
    • reduce the risk of some cancers
    • maintain bone density reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures
    • improve balance and coordination, reducing the risk of falls and other injuries.

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    What Is Rheumatic Heart Disease

    Rheumatic heart disease is caused by damage to the heart valves and heart muscle from the inflammation and scarring caused by rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever is caused by an abnormal response of the body to infection with streptococcal bacteria, whichusually begins as a sore throat or tonsillitis in children.

    Rheumatic fever mostly affects children in developing countries, especially where poverty is widespread. Globally, about 2% of deaths from cardiovascular diseases are related to rheumatic heart disease.

    What Are The Symptoms Of A Silent Heart Attack

    Heart Attack

    People who have a silent heart attack have symptoms not normally associated with a heart attack, mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. They may not realize theyve had a heart attack.

    With a silent heart attack, symptoms can make you feel like:

    • You have the flu.
    • You have a sore muscle in your chest or upper back.
    • You have an ache in your jaw, arms or upper back.
    • You are very tired.
    • Feeling stressed.

    Some things put you at a higher risk of a heart attack, but you cant change them. These include:

    • Having a history of heart disease in your family.
    • Having preeclampsia during pregnancy.
    • Being Native American, Mexican American, Black or native Hawaiian.
    • Being older than 45 .
    • Being postmenopausal or older than 55 .
    • Being infected with COVID-19.

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    Managing Heart Attack Risk Factors

    Here are ways to manage your risks for a heart attack:

    • Look at which risk factors apply to you, then take steps to eliminate or reduce them.
    • Learn about high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. These may be “silent killers.”
    • Change risk factors that aren’t inherited by making lifestyle changes. Talk with your healthcare provider to find out how to do so.
    • Talk with your healthcare provider to find out if you have risk factors that can’t be changed. These can be managed with medicine and lifestyle changes.

    Risk Factors You Cant Control

    • Age: The risk of heart disease increases for men after age 45 and for women after age 55 .
    • Family history of early heart disease: You have a higher risk if your father or a brother was diagnosed with coronary artery disease before 55 years of age or if your mother or a sister was diagnosed with coronary artery disease before 65 years of age.
    • Infections from bacteria and viruses

    Watch our video on how SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, may affect your heart. Learn about how we support COVID-19 research.

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    Are You Finding It Hard To Get Medical Help

    We know that many of you are experiencing delays to treatment at this time, or have questions and concerns about getting medical help. We’ve created this set of information to help you with these issues.

    If you are having emergency heart attack symptoms, do not wait for an appointment and call 999 immediately.

    What Is A Heart Attack

    What is a Heart Attack? (HealthSketch)

    Heart attack signs and symptoms in men and women: Chest pain or discomfort Shortness of breath Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, back, arm, or shoulder Feeling nauseous, light-headed, or unusually tired.

    A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, happens when a part of the heart muscle doesnt get enough blood.

    The more time that passes without treatment to restore blood flow, the greater the damage to the heart muscle.

    Coronary artery disease is the main cause of heart attack. A less common cause is a severe spasm, or sudden contraction, of a coronary artery that can stop blood flow to the heart muscle.

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    What Are Cardiovascular Diseases

    Cardiovascular diseases are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels. They include:

    • coronary heart disease a disease of the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle
    • cerebrovascular disease a disease of the blood vessels supplying the brain
    • peripheral arterial disease a disease of blood vessels supplying the arms and legs
    • rheumatic heart disease damage to the heart muscle and heart valves from rheumatic fever, caused by streptococcal bacteria
    • congenital heart disease birth defects that affect the normal development and functioning of the heart caused by malformations of the heart structure from birth and
    • deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism blood clots in the leg veins, which can dislodge and move to the heart and lungs.

    Heart attacks and strokes are usually acute events and are mainly caused by a blockage that prevents blood from flowing to the heart or brain. The most common reason for this is a build-up of fatty deposits on the inner walls of the blood vessels thatsupply the heart or brain. Strokes can be caused by bleeding from a blood vessel in the brain or from blood clots.

    Can I Prevent Having A Heart Attack

    In general, there are many things that you can do that may prevent a heart attack. However, some factors beyond your control especially your family history can still lead to a heart attack despite your best efforts. Still, reducing your risk can postpone when you have a heart attack and reduce the severity if you have one.

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    Heart Attack Risk Rises With One Cigarette

    Second on the nine-item list is smoking which was associated with a 36% increased risk of heart attack. And Yusuf warns that risk increases with the first cigarette: smoking one to five cigarettes a day increases heart attack risk by 40% compared with nonsmokers. Smoking 20 cigarettes a day is associated with a fourfold increased risk of heart attack and smoking two or more packs a day “is associated with a ninefold increased risk,” he says.

    Moreover, while a daily low-dose aspirin can protect the heart, “smoking three cigarettes can wipe out the protective effect of aspirin and wipe out two-thirds of the protective effect of ,” he says.

    Many Other Heart Conditions Can Ultimately Lead To Heart Failure

    Causes of heart attack stock illustration. Illustration of medicine ...

    All of us lose some blood-pumping ability in our hearts as we age, but heart failure results from the added stress of health conditions that either damage the heart or make it work too hard. All of the lifestyle factors that increase your risk of heart attack and stroke smoking, being overweight, eating foods high in fat and cholesterol and physical inactivity can also contribute to heart failure.

    Learn more about what you can do to reduce your risk for heart failure by making lifestyle changes that last.

    Recommended Reading: Is Heart Failure Curable

    How Soon After Treatment Will I Feel Better

    In general, your heart attack symptoms should decrease as you receive treatment. Youll likely have some lingering weakness and fatigue during your hospital stay and for several days after. Your healthcare provider will give you guidance on rest, medications to take, etc.

    Recovery from the treatments also varies, depending on the method of treatment. The average hospital stay for a heart attack is between four and five days. In general, expect to stay in the hospital for the following length of time:

    • Medication only: People treated with medication only have an average hospital stay of approximately six days.
    • PCI: Recovering from PCI is easier than surgery because its a less invasive method for treating a heart attack. The average length of stay for PCI is about four days.
    • CABG: Recovery from heart bypass surgery takes longer because its a major surgery. The average length of stay for CABG is about seven days.

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