Wednesday, May 22, 2024

What Causes A Heart Attack

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Can You Have Sex After A Heart Attack

What Causes a Heart Attack?

A heart attack can take a toll on your;romantic relationships and sex life, but that doesnt mean you should give up on sex afterward.

It may take some recovery time before you can resume sexual activity, and you may need to make certain modifications to your sexual practices.

Impaired sexual function is common after a heart attack, yet many people are reluctant to discuss this problem with their doctor. You may improve your sexual function by working on your overall fitness and endurance.

Many doctors tout the benefits of sex and intimacy for heart attack survivors, such as stress reduction, improved emotional well-being, and lower blood pressure.

Women Have Heart Attacks Too

We know that women tend to wait longer before calling 999 after experiencing heart attack symptoms.;In the UK, an average of three women die of coronary heart disease every hour, many of them due to a heart attack.You dramatically reduce your chance of survival if you don’t call 999 straight away.

Most heart attacks are caused by coronary heart disease .

CHD causes your coronary arteries to become narrowed by a gradual build-up of fatty deposits called atheroma.;

If a piece of atheroma breaks off, a blood clot forms around this to try and repair the damage to the artery wall.;

This clot can block your coronary artery either a partial blockage or total blockage . This causes your heart muscle to be starved of blood and oxygen.;

Other less common causes of a heart attack include:

  • hypoxia .

What Are Some Common Medications Used To Treat Heart Disease

A variety of medications may be used to treat heart disease. Medication options include:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors decrease strain on the heart by opening blood vessels.
  • Beta blockers reduce strain on the heart by decreasing heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Calcium channel blockers increase the efficiency of the heart and decrease heart rate.
  • Nitroglycerin opens arteries in the heart allowing for increased blood flow.
  • Statins alter blood lipids and decrease the risk of plaque buildup in the arteries.

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Heart Disease Treatment: Bypass Surgery

Some patient’s coronary arteries are not good candidates for angioplasty and/or stents. Such patients may benefit from another treatment technique termed bypass surgery. Bypass surgery occurs when a surgeon removes a blood vessel from one part of the body and uses it to connect one open part of a coronary artery to another open part, thus bypassing the area that has blocked blood flow. Often the surgeon may need to bypass more than one artery.

The decision to try and stent a coronary artery versus doing bypass surgery is usually recommended to the patient by their cardiologist and a heart surgeon. Bypass surgery is usually done if coronary arteries are narrowed or blocked in multiple places.

The procedure is known as coronary artery bypass graft . The doctor will take blood vessel from another part of the body and graft them onto the heart to bypass one, two, three, or more blocked coronary arteries. The procedure requires a stay in the hospital afterwards to recover.

Risk Of A Repeat Heart Attack

10 sneaky causes of heart disease [infographic]

Once you’ve had a heart attack, you’re at higher risk for another one. Knowing the difference between angina and a heart attack is important. Angina is chest pain that occurs in people who have;ischemic heart disease.

The pain from angina usually occurs after physical exertion and goes away in a few minutes when you rest or take medicine as directed.

The pain from a heart attack usually is more severe than the pain from angina. Heart attack pain doesn’t go away when you rest or take medicine.

If you don’t know whether your chest pain is angina or a heart attack, call 911.

The symptoms of a second heart attack may not be the same as those of a first heart attack. Don’t take a chance if you’re in doubt. Always call 911 right away if you or someone else has heart attack symptoms.

Unfortunately, most heart attack victims wait 2 hours or more after their symptoms start before they seek medical help. This delay can result in lasting heart damage or death.

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Are There Other Causes Of Heart Attack Besides Blockage

Sometimes a coronary artery temporarily contracts or goes into spasm. When this happens the artery narrows, and blood flow to part of the heart muscle decreases or stops.

The causes of spasms are unclear. A spasm can occur in normal-appearing blood vessels as well as in vessels partly blocked by atherosclerosis. A severe spasm can cause a heart attack.

Another rare cause of heart attack is spontaneous coronary artery dissection, which is a spontaneous tearing of the coronary artery wall.

Signs And Symptoms Of A Heart Attack

Symptoms of a heart attack can vary greatly from person to person. Theyre likely to be more severe if youre having a major heart attack, in which a blood clot completely blocks an artery leading to your heart.

  • Pain or discomfort in your jaw or neck
  • Pain or discomfort in your arms, shoulders, or back
  • Indigestion or sense of choking
  • Sweating, especially a cold sweat
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat

Sudden chest pain is the most common heart attack symptom, but not all people experience it. Some people have only mild symptoms that come on gradually.

Because a heart attack is a medical emergency, dial 911 right away if you experience symptoms that you believe are caused by one.

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Risk Factors You Can Control

The major risk factors for a heart attack that you can control include:

Some of these risk factorssuch as obesity, high blood pressure, and high blood sugartend to occur together. When they do, it’s called metabolic syndrome.

In general, a person who has metabolic syndrome is twice as likely to develop heart disease and five times as likely to develop diabetes as someone who doesn’t have metabolic syndrome.

For more information about the risk factors that are part of metabolic syndrome, go to the Health Topics Metabolic Syndrome article.

What Is New In Heart Attack

What causes a heart attack?

Greater public awareness about heart attacks and changes in lifestyle have contributed to a dramatic reduction in the incidence of heart attacks during the last four decades. The role of the “super aspirins” has been established to be of benefit in selected patients.

More effective versions of clot-busting drugs have been developed. Increasingly, paramedics can do ECGs in the field, diagnose a heart attack, and take patients directly to hospitals that have the ability to do PTCA and stenting. This can save time and reduce damage to the heart. At present, the accepted best treatment for a heart attack is identification promptly of the diagnosis, and transport to a hospital that can perform prompt catheterization and PTCA or stenting within the first 90 minutes of the cardiac event .

Recent data has shown that lowering blood LDL levels even further than previously suggested may further decrease the risk of heart attacks.

Research also has shown that inflammation may play a role in the development of atherosclerosis, and this is an active area of current investigation. There also is early evidence that with genetic engineering it may be possible to develop a drug that can be administered to clear plaques from arteries .

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Surgical And Other Procedures

In addition to treatment with drugs, you may need to undergo a procedure to restore blood flow to your heart:

Coronary Angioplasty and Stenting;This common procedure involves inserting a long, narrow tube into your coronary artery, inflating a tiny balloon in the area of a blockage, and leaving a mesh tube to keep it open.

Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery;In cases of more severe artery blockages, you may need to undergo surgery in which blood vessels are sewn around a blocked artery. Ideally this is done a few days after your heart attack, but may also need to be done immediately.

Understanding How The Heart Works

The heart is the hardest working muscle in your body. The average heart beats 100,000 times a day, day and night, to supply oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. Blood pumped by the heart also shuttles waste products such as carbon dioxide to the lungs so it can be eliminated from your body. Proper heart function is essential to support life.

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Heart Disease Treatment: Medicines

Advances in medicines that can help reduce the symptoms and slow the damage of heart disease have helped the majority of heart disease patients. Drugs are available to do the following:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower heartbeat rates
  • Lower cholesterol levels to reduce plaque
  • Help stabilize abnormal heart rhythms
  • Reduce or prevent clotting in coronary arteries
  • Improve the pumping ability of a person’s heart with heart disease
  • Remove excess fluid from the system and decrease blood volume

Take cardiac medications as prescribed by your doctor to control your condition. Never skip doses of your medications or stop taking them without speaking with your doctor first.

Types And Prognosis Of Heart Attack


Heart attacks are divided into types based on severity:

STEMI;Heart Attack;This is the deadliest type of heart attack. It happens when a coronary artery is completely blocked.

STEMI is short for ST segment elevation myocardial infarction. This refers to changes that can be seen on an electrocardiogram .

Sometimes called a massive heart attack, a STEMI heart attack causes significantly reduced blood flow to the heart. As a result, areas of the heart muscle quickly begin to die.

NSTEMI;Heart Attack;This type of heart attack happens when blood flow to your heart through a coronary artery is severely restricted, but may not be entirely blocked.

NSTEMI stands for non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction.

Sometimes called a mini heart attack or a mild heart attack, an NSTEMI heart attack usually causes less damage to the heart than a STEMI heart attack, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Silent Heart Attack;Some people have a heart attack with mild, brief symptoms or even no noticeable symptoms at all, which is why its known as a;silent heart attack.

Although they dont involve severe symptoms, silent heart attacks are far from harmless. They can cause permanent damage to the heart muscle.

Silent heart attacks account for about 45 percent of all heart attacks, according to Harvard Medical School. They affect women more often than men.

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Cardiac Arrest Or Heart Attack

A;heart attack;is not the same as a cardiac arrest. They are two different types of cardiac event.

A heart attack occurs when a coronary artery becomes blocked, preventing blood flow to part of the heart muscle. During a heart attack a person remains conscious and keeps breathing.

A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops pumping blood around the body. Normal breathing stops and consciousness is lost.;

Sometimes a heart attack can cause a cardiac arrest. This is because a person who is having a heart attack may develop a dangerous heart rhythm, which causes a cardiac arrest.;A heart attack and a cardiac arrest are both emergency situations. Call 111 straight away.;

Heart Disease Treatment: Angioplasty

Other treatments for heart disease involve special techniques like angioplasty and stent placement.

Angioplasty Step by Step

  • A thin catheter or tube is placed in a coronary artery and is threaded through an obstruction like a clot.
  • A balloon is inflated and pushes aside the obstruction.
  • The balloon is then deflated leaving the artery unblocked, thus allowing good blood flow.
  • Often, after angioplasty, an expandable mesh tube is then inserted and expanded, reinforcing the artery to keep it from collapsing.

The nurses will apply pressure to the area where the catheter was inserted for at least 15 minutes. The patient has to lie flat on his or her back for several hours to minimize the risk of bleeding. The doctor will order the patient to avoid lifting heavy objects and avoid engaging in strenuous physical activity for a certain amount of time after the procedure, usually 1 to 2 days.

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Just Like The Name Implies A Silent Heart Attack Is A Heart Attack That Has Either:

  • no symptoms,
  • minimal symptoms or
  • unrecognized symptoms, says Deborah Ekery, M.D., a clinical cardiologist at Heart Hospital of Austin and with Austin Heart in Austin, TX.

But it is like any other heart attack where blood flow to a section of the heart is temporarily blocked and can cause scarring and damage to the heart muscle.

Ekery regularly sees patients who come in complaining of fatigue and problems related to heart disease, and discovers, through an MRI or EKG, that the person had actually suffered a heart attack weeks or months ago, without ever realizing it.

Heart Attack Risk Factors

What causes a heart attack

A heart attack is most often caused by narrowing of the arteries by cholesterol plaque and their subsequent rupture. This is known as atherosclerotic heart disease or coronary artery disease .

The risk factors for AHSD are the same as those for stroke or peripheral vascular disease. These risk factors include:

While heredity is beyond a person’s control, all the other risk factors can be minimized to try to prevent coronary artery disease from developing. If atherosclerosis is already present, minimizing these risk factors can decrease further narrowing.

Non-coronary artery disease causes a heart attack may also occur. Examples include:

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Heart Attack Symptoms In Women

If you have any of these signs, call 911 and get to a hospital right away.

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  • As with men, womens most common heart attack symptom is chest pain;or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
  • How Is Heart Attack In Women Treated

    Thrombolytic therapy has been shown to reduce death from heart attacks similarly in men and women; however, the complication of strokes from the thrombolytic therapy may be slightly higher in women than in men.

    Emergency percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty or coronary stenting for acute heart attack is as effective in women as in men; however women may have a slightly higher rate of procedure-related complications in their blood vessels and death. This higher rate of complications has been attributed to women’s older age, smaller artery size, and greater severity of angina. The long-term outcome of angioplasty or stenting however, is similar in men and women, and should not be withheld due to gender. This is still the preferred mode of therapy if it can be performed in a timely fashion.

    The immediate mortality from coronary artery bypass graft surgery in women is higher than that for men. The higher immediate mortality rate has been attributed to women’s older age, smaller artery size, and greater severity of angina . Long-term survival, rate of recurrent heart attack and/or need for reoperation, however, are similar in men and women after CABG.

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    Prevention Of Heart Attacks

    You can help prevent a heart attack by knowing your risk factors for coronary artery disease and heart attack and taking action to lower those risks. Even if youve already had a heart attack or are told that your chances of having a heart attack are high, you can still lower your risk, most likely by making a few lifestyle changes that promote better health.

    • Dont smoke. Your doctor may recommend methods for quitting, including nicotine replacement.
    • Eat a diet low in fat, cholesterol and salt.
    • See your doctor regularly for blood pressure and cholesterol monitoring.
    • Pursue a program of moderate, regular aerobic exercise. People over age 50 who have led a sedentary lifestyle should check with a doctor before beginning an exercise program.
    • Lose weight if you are overweight.
    • Your doctor may advise you to take a low dose of aspirin regularly. Aspirin reduces the tendency for the blood to clot, thereby decreasing the risk of heart attack. However, such a regimen should only be initiated under a doctors expressed recommendation.
    • Women at or approaching menopause should discuss the possible cardio-protective benefits of estrogen replacement therapy with their doctor.

    What To Do If Foods Cause You Heart Palpitations

    Heart Attack Causes

    First off, take note if you feel any additional symptoms, because those could signal that youre experiencing more than simple palpitations. Seek emergency medical help if at any point you also have:

    • Shortness of breath
    • Pain or discomfort in the upper back, arms, neck, or jaw
    • Feeling of impending doom

    If its the first time youve ever noticed heart palpitations, make a follow-up appointment with your doctor. Its likely nothing is wrong, but its always best to err on the side of caution and make sure that the food-related episode isnt the first sign of a bigger issue.

    Next, start a log and record times when the palpitations recur. Note what you ate or drank and what sort of emotional state you were in. If specific foods or beverages tend to cause recurrences, take that as a sign you should reduce or eliminate those foods from your diet. Your body and your heart couldnt be telling you any more clearly that those substances are doing you harm.

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