What Risk Factors Are Involved
Many of the risk factors for heart attack and stroke are the same. These includes:
high blood pressure
High blood pressure is dangerous because it puts pressure on the walls of your blood vessels. That makes them more solid and less likely to broaden as needed to maintain healthy circulation. Poor circulation could enhance your risk of heart attack and stroke.
If you have an abnormal heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation , then you also have an increased stroke risk. As a result of your heart doesnt beating in a regular rhythm during AF, blood could pool in your heart and make a clot. If that clot breaks free from your heart, it could travel in the direction toward your brain and could cause an ischemic stroke.
How are heart attacks and strokes diagnosed?
If you find stroke symptoms, then your medical examiner will get a quick summary of signs and a medical history. Youll likely be advised to get a CT scan of the brain. This could show bleeding in the brain and other particular areas of the brain that may have been affected by poor blood stream. Your medical examiner may also order for an MRI.
A different set of tests is advised to diagnose a heart attack. Your medical examiner will still want to know your signs and medical history. After that, they could also check an electrocardiogram on the health of your heart muscle.
Warning Signs Of A Heart Attack Or Stroke
Sometimes the signs of a heart attack or stroke are obvious. Sometimes they aren’t. Here are lists of the “classic” and not-so-classic signs of each. If you If you notice one or more of the signs below in yourself or someone else, or you’re really worried that you or someone you are with is having a heart attack, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. Better safe than sorry.
Heart Attack Cardiac Arrest And Stroke
Do you know the difference between a heart attack, cardiac arrest, and stroke? A heart attack and cardiac arrest involve the heart, while a stroke involves the brain.
A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked. Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients.
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Heart Attack Care In Tampa Fl
A heart attack means the flow of blood to your heart has stopped, usually due to a blockage in your blood vessels. Your heart can’t get enough oxygen and the muscle begins to die. Prevent heart attacks by undergoing regular screenings.
Chest pain is the most obvious sign of a heart attack. However, it is possible to have a heart attack without any chest pain at all. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack so you can seek treatment immediately. The sooner we treat you, the better your chances are for recovery. We can perform emergency cardiac catheterization in our cardiac cath labs to restore your blood flow. Learn more about cardiac catheterization at St. Joseph’s. Watch our patient stories to learn why they chose St. Joseph’s Hospital when they had a heart attack.
Catch The Signs Early
Dont wait to get help if you experience any of these heart attack warning signs. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense. But most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Pay attention to your body and call 911 if you experience:
- Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or it may go away and then return. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath. This can occur with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs. Other possible signs include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
Download the common heart attack warning signs infographic |
What Do You Do If You Have A Heart Attack
If you have any of the listed symptoms:
- tell someone and ask them to get help right away
The faster you get help, the better your chances of surviving a heart attack. Half of heart attack deaths happen within 2 hours of the first signs.
On average, Canadians wait almost 5 hours before getting medical help. Many people find it hard to believe that they are having a heart attack. They convince themselves that the symptoms are something else and that they will go away.
Not getting help for your symptoms could lead to death. New therapies and drugs can reduce damage and save your life if treatment begins soon enough. Your health care provider will work with you to determine treatment and recovery needs.
If you have suffered a heart attack, having important health information close by can help medical staff treat you. Carry personal health information with you at all times and have it posted by your phone. You may not be able to tell medical staff this information yourself, depending on your condition.
Your list should include:
- telephone and health care number
- medical history
- current medications
- health care provider
- health insurance number for expenses that are not covered under provincial health insurance plans, such as:
- ambulance services
Additional Common Symptoms Of Atrial Fibrillation
Sometimes people with AFib have no symptoms and their condition is only detectable upon physical examination. Still, others may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- General fatigue
- Fluttering or thumping in the chest
- Shortness of breath and anxiety
- *Chest pain or pressure
*Chest pain or pressure is a medical emergency. You may be having a heart attack. Call 911 immediately.
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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.
How Are Heart Attacks And Strokes Treated
Sometimes handling the blockage responsible for a heart attack needs more than just medication and with the changes of lifestyle. In these cases, either coronary artery bypass grafting or angioplasty with a stent could be needed.
During a CABG, which is normally assigned to as bypass surgery, your doctor cuts a blood vessel from another part of your body and attaches it to an artery thats halt. This reroutes the blood cycle around the clogged portion of the blood vessel.
Another method for treating heart attack is angioplasty, which is done by the use of a catheter with a tiny balloon at its tip. Your medical examiner puts a catheter into the blood vessel and inflates the balloon at the site of the stoppage. Then the balloon squeezes the plague from the walls of the artery to open it up for a good blood cycle. Generally, theyll use a little wire mesh tube, called a stent, in that exact place to help keep the artery open.
After a heart attack and the following treatment, you should engage in cardiac rehabilitation. Cardiac rehabilitation process lasts some weeks and includes controlled exercise sessions and education about lifestyle, diet, and medications for betterment of heart health.
From that day forward, youll need to do continue exercising and intake a heart-healthy diet while avoiding things like too much alcohol, smoking, and stress.
What is the outlook?
maintain a healthy lifestyle
participate in cardiac rehabilitation
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What Causes Heart Disease And Stroke
A process called hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, can cause heart disease, a heart attack, or a stroke.
Atherosclerosis causes fatty deposits called plaque to build up inside blood vessels called arteries. Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood throughout your body. The plaque can limit blood flow in the arteries.
Heart disease. When plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, it is called heart disease or coronary artery disease. The heart doesn’t get the blood that it needs to work well. Over time, this can weaken or damage the heart. If the blood flow is blocked, it can cause a heart attack.
Stroke. Plaque can also build up in the neck arteries that go to the brain. Plaque in these arteries, called carotid arteries, can limit blood flow to the brain. If the blood flow is blocked, it can cause an ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack . Another type of stroke is called a hemorrhagic stroke. This type of stroke happens when an artery in the brain leaks or bursts. This causes bleeding inside the brain or near the surface of the brain.
Women are unique. Heart disease seems to happen slightly differently in women compared to how it happens in men. For example, plaque might build up differently in a woman’s arteries so that a doctor cannot see a blockage during a cardiac catheterization test. Researchers are trying to understand these differences to help find the best ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat women who have heart disease.
How Can You Tell If A Person Is Having A Heart Attack Or Stroke
The warning signs of heart attack and stroke are not the same.
Heart attack symptoms and signs
The classic warning symptoms and signs of a heart attack in men and women may include:
- Chest pain or chest discomfort that may come and go
- Pain or discomfort that may radiate to the shoulders, arms, back, abdomen, jaw, or teeth
Heart attack treatment
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is the initial emergency treatment for heart attacks if the patient person has no pulse and/or if an available defibrillator is ineffective in restoring a pulse. Clot busting medications that can help open blocked arteries or angioplasty and stent placement to open a blocked artery are potential initial treatments available for a heart attack.
If a person with heart attack symptoms is able to swallow, many doctors will recommend initial treatment of four chewable 81 mg baby aspirin . Some patients may require emergency coronary artery bypass grafting .
There are two major types of stroke, with the majority due to a blocked artery in the neck or brain. About 15% of strokes are due to either leakage or rupture of a brain aneurysm, which leads to bleeding in the brain . Unfortunately, both types of stroke can have the same initial symptoms. Emergency medical treatment depends on which type of stroke you or another person is having.
Patients with severe heart attacks or severe strokes may require assisted ventilation .
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Common Heart Attack Symptoms:
Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of heart attacks. It is recommended that you go through these properly so that you can figure out if youre having a heart attack or not if any these symptoms appear.
It is true that heart attack symptoms vary from person to person. Here are however some of the main symptoms of heart attacks.
This heart attack sign is one of those symptoms of heart which every heart patient who has gone through a heart attack has experienced. The blood pressure increase during a heart attack and this is the indication that you might be having a severe heart stroke. A lot of people have survived heart attack by remaining totally calm and breathing properly.
There are minor and major heart attacks. Generally, during minor heart attacks, there is not a heavy pressure on the heart. People still might be able to survive the attack by adopting some measures beforehand. In the old days, a heart attack was a shock for almost everyone. But in modern times, there are a lot of ways to survive the attack.
2. Tightness In The Chest:
Another common heart attack symptom is the feeling of tightness in the chest. One will feel as if the chest is tightened and there is a squeezing factor acting within. This is a pretty natural symptom and a lot of people with heart condition know about it. There is no stoppage to this feeling and this issue will definitely make you nervous and reduce the chances of survival during the attack.
Is It A Heart Attack Or Something Else
Silent heart attacks don’t just fool patients they can be misdiagnosed in health care settings, too. Shortness of breath may be mistaken for a pulmonary problem, for instance. And pain in the shoulder or arm can be misdiagnosed as an orthopedic issue. So there are lots of different forms of symptoms that are referred pain from the heart that can be very confusing and sometimes can be misleading, Lager says.
One way to tell if the symptoms you’re experiencing are due to a heart attack or another condition is to know that the warning signs of heart trouble are not positional, Lager says. This means that the sprain-like pain in your neck and arm won’t get better if you stretch it or shake it out. And shortness of breath or sweating won’t subside if you take it easy and lie down.
“That’s a really good rule of thumb, Lager says. If you’re not sure if you’re having a symptom, see if you can manipulate it in some way. Can you press on the chest? Can you change your position? Can you stand up or sit down? Does it make a difference, positionally? Because the heart has no gyroscope it doesn’t know where it is in space. And it doesn’t matter if you put the heart upside down or right side up, it’s going to give you the same signals if it’s in trouble.”
The risks factors for silent heart attacks are the same as those for a heart attack with symptoms. The most common include:
- A family history of heart disease
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Key Steps To Reduce Heart Attack Risk
- Stop cigarettes. Help is available to assist you.
- Lower High blood pressure. Eat a balanced diet, maintain a healthy weight and exercise to reduce blood pressure. Your physician may also prescribe medication.
- Reduce high blood cholesterol. The best way to lower cholesterol is to reduce your intake of saturated fats and to increase physical activity. Your physician may also prescribe medication.
- Aim for a healthy weight. Control your caloric intake and lose excess weight.
- Be physically active each day. 30 minutes or more on most, preferably all, days each week of moderately intense physical activity is recommended for adults.
- Manage Diabetes. Treatment and better blood sugar control can delay complications that increase the risk of a heart attack.
Conditions With Similar Symptoms To A Heart Attack
Other medical conditions can have similar symptoms and can affect the heart.
These conditions include:
Angina: A symptom of coronary artery disease that causes chest pain or discomfort due to the heart muscle not getting enough blood. Angina may feel like pressure or a squeezing pain in the chest area.
Aortic aneurysm and dissection: An enlargement that can burst or tear in the aorta, the main artery in the body. This is a life-threatening emergency.
Arrhythmias: Irregular or unusually fast or slow heartbeats. These can develop into more serious medical conditions such as atrial fibrillation, which can cause a stroke.
A blood clot in the lung: This can result from deep vein thrombosis, when a clot forms, often in the lower leg, and a part of it breaks off and travels to the lung. This needs emergency medical treatment.
Heartburn, acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux : This can also feel like a heart attack by causing severe chest pain.
Musculoskeletal pain: Sometimes damage to a muscle in the chest, neck, or arm can lead to pain that may resemble that which occurs with a heart attack.
It is important to seek emergency medical treatment for chest pain to be sure it is not a heart attack or another serious medical condition.
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Signs Of Stroke In Men And Women
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
Treatment For A Stroke
Common treatments include:
- clot-busting drugs and other medicines
- tissue plasminogen activator , which can be effective if a person receives it within around 3 to 4.5 hours of having a stoke
- mechanical clot removal, or thrombectomy, within up to 24 hours of symptoms appearing, based on brain imaging
Long-term treatment aims to:
- reduce the risk of another stroke
- address any functionality they have lost, for example, speech difficulties
The overall impact and treatment for the stroke will depend on the area of the brain involved and the amount of tissue damage. A doctor will decide if this is necessary and if any additional treatment is needed.
- managing blood pressure and cholesterol
- avoiding recreational drug use
Leading a healthful lifestyle with a balanced diet and exercise is another vital part of reducing the risk.
People who have had previous heart or stroke problems may also want to ask their doctor about including a dose of aspirin in their daily regimen.
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