What Happens During A Heart Attack
A heart attack happens when blood flow to a section of the heart becomes blocked. Heart attacks are different for everyone. Some are sudden and intense and sometimes accompanied by chest pain. Most heart attacks, however, start slowly with mild pain and discomfort. Symptoms can vary among men and women.
Why Didnt I Have Any Warning
The process of atherosclerosis has no symptoms. When a coronary artery narrows and constricts blood flow, other nearby blood vessels that serve the heart sometimes expand to compensate, which may explain why there are no warning signs.
Such a network of expanded nearby blood vessels is called collateral circulation, and it helps protect some people from heart attacks by delivering needed blood to the heart. Collateral circulation can also develop after a heart attack to help the heart muscle recover.
Smi: Unaware Of Possible Danger
The number of people who suffer an SMI and don’t realize it is alarming. A study in the Nov. 10, 2015, Journal of the American Medical Association looked at almost 2,000 people ages 45 to 84 who were free of cardiovascular disease.
After 10 years, 8% had myocardial scars, which are evidence of a heart attack. Most surprising was that 80% of these people were unaware of their condition. Overall, the prevalence of myocardial scars was five times higher in men than in women.
SMI and regular heart attacks share the same risk factors: smoking, being overweight, lack of exercise, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and diabetes. They can be just as dangerous, too. “SMI often leaves scarring and damage to the heart, which, combined with the fact that many people who have an SMI don’t seek immediate care, can further raise a person’s risk of a second and potentially more harmful heart attack,” says Dr. Plutzky. In fact, people who have an SMI and don’t get treatment have a three times greater risk of dying from coronary artery disease. “A silent heart attack is a loud signal your body sends that you have some kind of underlying health issue that needs attention,” says Dr. Plutzky.
Dont Hesitate To Call 911
Learn the signs for heart attack, and remember: Even if youre not sure its a heart attack, have it checked out.
Minutes matter. Fast action can save lives – maybe your own.
if you experience heart attack warning signs. Calling 911 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment.
An emergency medical services team can begin treatment when they arrive up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. EMS staff are also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too.
For many reasons, its best to call 911 so that an experienced EMS team can begin treatment and arrange rapid transport to the emergency room.
About Half Of All Heart Attacks Are Mistaken For Less Serious Problems And Can Increase Your Risk Of Dying From Coronary Artery Disease
You can have a heart attack and not even know it. A silent heart attack, known as a silent myocardial infarction , account for 45% of heart attacks and strike men more than women.
They are described as silent because when they occur, their symptoms lack the intensity of a classic heart attack, such as extreme and pressure stabbing pain in the arm, neck, or jaw sudden shortness of breath sweating, and dizziness.
SMI symptoms can feel so mild, and be so brief, they often get confused for regular discomfort or another less serious problem, and thus men ignore them, says Dr. Jorge Plutzky, director of the vascular disease prevention program at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Womens Hospital.
For instance, men may feel fatigue or physical discomfort and chalk it up to overwork, poor sleep, or some general age-related ache or pain. Other typical symptoms like mild pain in the throat or chest can be confused with gastric reflux, indigestion, and .
Also, the location of pain is sometimes misunderstood. With SMI, you may feel discomfort in the center of the chest and not a sharp pain on the left side of the chest, which many people associate with a heart attack. People can even feel completely normal during an SMI and afterward, too, which further adds to the chance of missing the warning signs, says Dr. Plutzky.
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Heart Attack Recovery And Outlook
Your recovery from a heart attack will depend on its severity and how it was treated. It can take anywhere from one week to several weeks before you can return to all your regular activities, especially anything involving heavy lifting.
Treating a heart attack promptly and effectively minimizes the damage. Your chances of a better outcome also improve if you do cardiac rehabilitation. Cardiac rehabilitation is a multiweek program of exercise routines, nutrition counseling, and learning about heart medications and lifestyle changes.
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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.
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How Can I Take Care Of My Heart At Home
Heart disease is serious, and its one of the leading causes of death. So no matter how you are, keeping your heart healthy is important to limit the risk of illness and complications. Here are some ways you can boost heart health at home:
- Eat a heart-healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish. Avoid excessive salt, fat and sugar. Use herbs and spices instead of salt. Walnuts and flaxseeds are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to decrease swelling in the arteries and protect the heart. They can also help lower cholesterol levels.
- Drink water at regular intervals . This can help remove waste from the body as well as help your heart in pumping blood.
- Maintain a healthy weight according to your age and height.
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Causes Of Mild Heart Attack
The causes of a mild heart attack are not well understood. Most of the time, there is nothing wrong with the hearts electrical system that would cause a heart attack.
It is difficult to know the exact reasons behind a mild heart attack. There are many potential factors that could come into play and these conditions rarely show up together. It is always good to keep an eye on them.
Dont hesitate to seek medical attention for anything unusual you experience when at rest.
So, what causes these mini heart attacks? Well, theres a lot going on with your cardiovascular system and sometimes it can go wrong in different ways.
Plaque The reason heard most often is a piece of plaque has broken off and has caused a clot to form in the coronary artery . The clot cuts off blood flow to the heart which can cause chest pain and other symptoms within minutes.
- Medications and alcohol use It is important to check whether youre on any drugs or alcohol that could potentially increase your chances of having a heart attack. Certain types of drugs can cause side effects like low blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems that can make you more susceptible to having a heart attack.
- Stress: It overburdens your heart and makes it work too hard and too much, causing a heart attack or abnormal heart rhythm. . Being under stress for a longer period due to a permanent job change or having an understaffed workplace can lead to an irregular heartbeat.
Treatment Of Mild Heart Attack
There are several procedures that can help with the treatment of mild heart attacks. These procedures and medications can restrict the blood flow in your body which will restrict further damage to your heart muscle. They will also open your arteries up again so blood can flow to your body normally once more. You should never put off dealing with a heart attack. If the symptoms are mild, the pain will not go away on its own. It is important that you give yourself the best chance of survival and act immediately.
In order to treat a heart attack, blood flow to the affected heart muscle must be restored as quickly as possible. This can occur in a number of ways, including medicine and surgery. The following are the treatments for a mild heart attack.
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What Causes A Mini Heart Attack
Heart attacks occur when an artery that supplies blood to the heart becomes blocked and the part of the heart that normally gets blood from that artery is damaged.
This blockage usually occurs due to a condition called coronary heart disease or coronary artery disease. In coronary heart disease, plaques form on the walls of the coronary arteries, which are the arteries that feed the heart. These plaques can break open and cause blood clots, which can block off the artery and prevent blood from reaching parts of the heart muscle.
Risk factors for coronary heart disease include:
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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.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Heart Attack
If you have any of the symptoms below, you could be having a heart attack. If symptoms are severe, get worse quickly, or last longer than 10 minutes, call triple zero immediately and ask for an ambulance. If calling triple zero does not work on your mobile try calling 112.
The most common symptoms of a heart attack include:
- chest pain pressure or tightness in the chest and arms that may spread to the jaw, neck or back
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Women may experience different symptoms, such as:
- breathlessness and generally feeling unwell
- tightness or discomfort in the arms
- back pain or pressure
Heart attack symptoms differ from person to person. Some people experience no warning signs before a heart attack while others feel symptoms days or weeks in advance. Nearly 1 in 3 men and nearly 4 in 10 women who have heart attacks dont feel any chest pain at all. Chest pains may also come and go.
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Whats 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 youll 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.
Check Your Blood Pressure Regularly
It is important to have your blood pressure checked regularly. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. Normal blood pressure is less than 140/90 mm Hg. If you are being treated for high blood pressure, the usual target is to reduce blood pressure in someone who has had a heart attack to below 130/80 mm Hg. This figure may vary depending on whether you have other conditions for example, kidney disease.
Lifestyle factors can help to lower blood pressure, such as eating a healthy diet, exercise, losing weight if you are overweight, and not eating much salt. Medication is advised if your blood pressure remains persistently high. See the separate leaflet called High Blood Pressure for more details.
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Is Chest Pain Normal After A Heart Attack
Once youve had a heart attack, youre at higher risk for another one. Not everyone who has CHD will have chest pain , but if you do, it should be a light pain or pressure in your chest that quickly goes away. It will typically happen during or right after physical exertion, intense emotion or eating a heavy meal. If youre having ANY chest pains, tell your doctor. There are exercises and medication that can help ease or prevent the pain. If you dont know if your chest pain is angina or a heart attack, call 911.
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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.
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What Not To Do After A Heart Attack
Give your heart a chance to heal after a heart attack. This means you may need to modify your normal routine and reconsider certain activities for several weeks.
Gradually ease back into your everyday routine so you dont risk a relapse. You may have to modify your daily activities if theyre stressful.
It may take up to 3 months before your doctor gives you the OK to go back to work.
Depending on the stress level of your job, you may need to significantly cut back on your workload or ease back into it on a part-time basis.
You may not be able to drive a vehicle for at least a week after your heart attack. This restriction may be longer if you have complications.
Each state has different laws, but the general rule is that your condition must be stable for at least 3 weeks before youre allowed to drive again.
Your doctor will likely advise you to hold off on sex and other physical activities for at least 2 to 3 weeks after your heart attack.
What Are The Signs Of A Heart Attack
In both men and women, the most common sign of a heart attack is chest pain or discomfort, but you can experience a heart attack without chest pressure. Here are some important warning signs to be aware of:
If you experience any of the above emergency signs, its important to call 9-1-1 for the fastest medical help. For more information, please visit the heart and stroke website.
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