New Technology Can Help Prevent Heart Attacks
What kind of treatment does someone who’s had a heart attack receive?;
50% of deaths occur within an hour of having a heart attack, usually before the patient has got to hospital.;
Early recognition and treatment are key; the part of the heart muscle that has been deprived of oxygen does not die immediately. If blood flow can be restored quickly, damage to the affected heart muscle can be minimized or prevented.;
- If you think you or someone you know is having a heart attack, dial 999.
- Remain seated and chew an aspirin tablet , if you have one.;
In hospital, patients undergo an emergency surgical procedure or are given clot-busting medicine. PCI involves feeding a balloon up to the affected coronary artery, usually via an artery in the groin. The balloon is blown up at the site of the narrowing to open up the artery and restore blood flow.
A stent may be introduced to keep the artery open. The type of treatment offered is dependent on how long it has been since symptom onset.
After a heart attack patients will be prescribed medicines that thin the blood and optimize heart function. These medicines reduce the risk of a second heart attack and need to be taken for the rest of that persons life.
What is the prognosis for someone who’s had a heart attack?
Approximately one in three people die after a heart attack. The danger time is the first few days and weeks; patients that survive to 4 weeks have an excellent prognosis.;
Clogged Supply Lines: A Common Cause Of Heart Attacks
Sometimes cholesterol and fat build up inside of your artery walls and restrict blood flow to your heart. This buildup of plaque is called atherosclerosis. The result narrowed or blocked arteries is called coronary artery disease.
A heart attack occurs when a coronary artery is blocked. When that happens, part of your heart muscle doesnt get the blood it needs, causing permanent tissue damage.;
Returning To Normal Activities
After a heart attack, most people who don’t have chest pain or discomfort or other problems can safely return to most of their normal activities within a few weeks. Most can begin walking right away.
Sexual activity also can begin within a few weeks for most patients. Talk with your doctor about a safe schedule for returning to your normal routine.
If allowed by state law, driving usually can begin within a week for most patients who don’t have chest pain or discomfort or other disabling problems. Each state has rules about driving a motor vehicle following a serious illness. People who have complications shouldn’t drive until their symptoms have been stable for a few weeks.
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Symptoms To Look Out For
The start of a heart attack isnt always obvious or dramatic. A heart attack can often begin with subtle symptoms, and with mild discomfort versus full-on pain. Symptoms vary from person to person, and they can range in intensity. You might have just a handful of symptoms, or many.
The most common symptom is chest pain . This can be described as a heaviness, tightness, pressure, aching, burning, numbness, fullness or squeezing feeling that lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back, says;cardiologist Dr. Amnon Beniaminovitz. It is sometimes mistakenly thought to be indigestion or heartburn.
Here are some other common symptoms to look out for:
- Pain in other areas of the body,;including the arms, left shoulder, back, neck, jaw or stomach
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Sweating or cold sweat
- Light-headedness, dizziness, extreme weakness or anxiety
- Rapid or irregular;heartbeats
Its important to note that there are some differences in heart attack symptoms when it comes to women, as they often dont experience the typical chest pain that men do. Women are slightly more likely than men to report unusual symptoms, says Beniaminovitz. Those who have more vague or less typical heart;symptoms have reported the following:
- Upper back or shoulder pain
- Jaw pain or pain spreading to the jaw
- Pressure or pain in the center of the chest
- Pain that spreads to the arm
- Unusual fatigue for several days
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.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Attack
The major symptoms of a heart attack are
- Chest pain or discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center or left side of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
- Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint. You may also break out into a cold sweat.
- Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms or shoulders.
- Shortness of breath. This often comes along with chest discomfort, but shortness of breath also can happen before chest discomfort.
Other symptoms of a heart attack could include unusual or unexplained tiredness and nausea or vomiting. Women are more likely to have these other symptoms.;Learn more about women and heart disease.
Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack.1Learn more facts about heart attack and heart disease.
Risk Factors You Can Control
The major risk factors for a heart attack that you can control include:
- High blood sugar due to insulin resistance or diabetes
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.
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What Are The Risk Factors For Heart Attack
Several health conditions, your lifestyle, and your age and family history can increase your risk for heart disease and heart attack. These are called risk factors. About;half of all Americans have at least one of the three key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking.2
Some risk factors cannot be controlled, such as your age or family history. But you can take steps to lower your risk by changing the factors you;can control.
Learn more about risk factors for heart disease and heart attack.
What Happens To Blood Pressure During A Heart Attack
In most people, a heart attack increases your blood pressure. Sometimes a heart attack can cause a decrease in blood pressure, and in some cases, there is little change to a persons blood pressure.
Blood pressure changes during a heart attack are unpredictable, therefore doctors generally do not use it as a sign of a heart attack.
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Can Some Medical Conditions Affect The Heart Rate During A Heart Attack
According to the American Heart Association, tachycardia is where a persons heart rate is too fast for their age and overall physical condition. During a heart attack, their heart rate will likely remain elevated.
Bradycardia causes a slower heart rate. People with bradycardia or other diseases of the electrical system may not experience an increased heart rate during a heart attack.
Complications Of A Heart Attack
Complications of a heart attack can be serious and possibly life threatening.
- arrhythmias these are abnormal heartbeats. 1 type is where the heart begins beating faster and faster, then stops beating
- cardiogenic shock where the heart’s muscles are severely damaged and can no longer contract properly to supply enough blood to maintain many body functions
- heart rupture where the heart’s muscles, walls or valves split apart
These complications can happen quickly after a heart attack and are a leading cause of death.
Many people die suddenly from a complication of a heart attack before reaching hospital or within the 1st month after a heart attack.
The outlook often depends on:
- age serious complications are more likely as you get older
- the severity of the heart attack how much of the heart’s muscle has been damaged during the attack
- how long it took before a person received treatment treatment for a heart attack should begin as soon as possible
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What Causes A Heart Attack
The most common cause is something called coronary artery disease or atherosclerosis, says Petre. As we get older, the body deposits cholesterol fatty plaques onto the walls of our arteries. How much gets deposited is directly related to peoples lifestyle, smoking habits, diet, exercise, inflammation and weight.;When the cholesterol plaque on the arteries walls becomes unstable or fragile, it breaks up and forms a clot, obstructing the arteries. Whats scary is that the arteries dont have to be fully blocked to trigger symptoms; most heart attacks occur when these blockages are less than 50 percent.;Most of the;heart;attacks occur as silent bombs, when people didnt even know they suffered from these plaque deposits to begin with, says Petre.
There are also a number of other causes that can trigger a heart attack. Recreational drug use of substances like cocaine can;cause the arteries to contract in a spasm to a;closing point. Smoking can also trigger a heart attack.
In unusual, rare situations, people can have small clots migrating from other locations and reaching the heart arteries, says Petre.;A;heart;attack;can also occur due to the spasm of a coronary artery, which can occur at rest or even occur in people without significant coronary artery disease.
Is A Change In Blood Pressure A Sign Of A Heart Attack
Blood pressure is not an accurate predictor of a heart attack. Sometimes a heart attack can cause an increase or decrease in blood pressure, but having a change in blood pressure reading doesnt always mean its heart-related. Instead, a better strategy for gauging a heart attack is to look at your overall symptoms. A heart attack may cause multiple symptoms, just a few symptoms, or even no symptoms at all.
Chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack. However, its not the only symptom. Possible symptoms of a heart attack include:
- chest pain
- mild to severe squeezing sensations in the chest area
- pain in the arms
- cold sweats
- jaw, neck, and upper-back pain
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Blood Pressure Can Plummet
During a heart attack, blood pressure levels drop significantly. One result: The amount of blood and oxygen that reaches the brain drops significantly, too. Without oxygen, the brain cells begin to die, a process called cerebral infarction. The signs that this has begun to happen include vision loss, trouble moving, and impaired speech. It also may lead to unconsciousness, and it could cause the heart to stop beating altogether, a quickly fatal condition known as cardiac arrest.
Damage Begins To Accumulate
During a heart attack, your heart wont be able to function normally. Thats bad news for your entire body. Your vital organsmeaning your brain, lungs, kidneys, and liverdepend on a steady diet of blood, oxygen, and nutrients, which the heart pumps to them. If your organs go without these essential supplies for too long, they too will become permanently damaged and begin to shut down. The more severe the heart attackmeaning the bigger the blockage and the more time it takes to treat itthe faster this occurs.
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Is A High Heart Rate A Sign Of A Heart Attack
An elevated heart rate is not a reliable sign of a heart attack.
There are three types of heart attack, each of which affect heart rate differently. The three types are:
- ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction
- non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction
- coronary artery spasm
STEMI can be the most severe form of heart attack. It typically causes an elevated heart rate during the event but certain types of STEMIs can cause damage to the electrical system of the heart and slow the heart rate. NSTEMI heart attacks are usually less damaging to the heart, but may also increase the heart rate. Sometimes the NSTEMI is a result of fast heart rate as a result of some other underlying issue with a fixed blockage of the coronary arteries.
Coronary artery spasms occur when the artery walls tighten and restrict blood flow to the heart. They can also affect the heart rate.
What Happens To Heart Rate During A Heart Attack
A persons heart rate may increase or stay the same during a heart attack.
The heart rate at the time of treatment can sometimes predict recovery success. According to one 2018 study across 58 hospitals, a heart rate above 80 beats per minute had the highest risk of mortality following a heart attack.
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Heart Attack Survivor Stories
“I am thankful for each day and the opportunities it brings to share my experiences with others.”
“Ive changed my diet to minimize fat and salt. Im learning to read labels and make healthy choices.”
“It all comes down to listening the cardiologists listening to us, and not just with their stethoscopes and us listening to the cardiologists. Without both of these, there are no winners!”
“I now take a low dose Bayer Aspirin regimen, and I was told that the aspirin I was given during my heart attack helped save my life! Thanks for being there for me Bayer!”
What Happens To Your Body During A Heart Attack
A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, is a medical condition that causes the heart to become permanently damaged. Here, myo means muscle, cardial means heart, and infarction means tissue-death caused by the lack of blood supply.
Your heart muscle requires a steady and controlled amount of blood supplied to it at all times. This blood supply is what allows the heart to function as intended. Now, the blood that flows through the heart is supplied by the coronary arteries. This is why the primary risk factor for heart attack is coronary artery disease.
Coronary artery disease occurs when the coronary arteries become blocked or narrowed due to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the closing or hardening of the arteries and it occurs due to the accumulation of cholesterol and fatty deposits called plaque. When the plaque and cholesterol accumulate on the inner walls of the arteries, it results in restricted blood flow.
When the blood flow becomes restricted, the heart ends up being starved of oxygen, which, in turn, deprives it of the nutrients needed to aid its proper functionality. This leads to chest pain or angina. When a coronary artery or group of coronary arteries become completely blocked, you have a heart attack.
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Is All Chest Pain A Heart Attack
No. One very common type of chest pain is called angina. Its a recurring discomfort that usually lasts only a few minutes. Angina occurs when your heart muscle doesnt get the blood supply and oxygen that it needs.
The difference between angina and a heart attack is that angina attacks dont permanently damage the heart muscle.
There are different types of angina, including:
- Stable angina, or angina pectoris Stable angina often occurs during exercise or emotional stress when your heart rate and blood pressure increase, and your heart muscle needs more oxygen. Learn more about stable angina.
- Unstable angina, sometimes referred to as acute coronary syndrome Unstable angina occurs while you may be resting or sleeping, or with little physical exertion. It comes as a surprise. Unstable angina can lead to a heart attack and it should be treated as an emergency. Learn more about unstable angina.
Types Of Heart Attacks
The scientific term for a heart attack is myocardial infarction or MI for short. There are different kinds of heart attacks, and the severity, diagnosis and treatment for each may be different.
What all heart attacks have in common is that something is preventing oxygen-containing, nutrient-rich blood from getting to the heart muscle. The amount of damage to the heart will depend on the type of heart attack, the severity of blockage and the time it took to get treated.
Heres what you need to know about the types of heart attacks:
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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.