Will I Recover From My Heart Attack
The answer is most likely yes.
The heart muscle begins to heal soon after a heart attack. It usually takes about eight weeks to heal.
Scar tissue may form in the damaged area, and that scar tissue does not contract or pump as well as healthy muscle tissue. As a consequence, the extent of damage to the heart muscle can impact how well the heart pumps blood throughout the body.
How much pumping function is lost depends on the size and location of the scar tissue. Most heart attack survivors have some degree of coronary artery disease and will have to make important lifestyle changes and possibly take medication to prevent a future heart attack. Taking these steps can help you lead a full, productive life.
Learn more about recovering from heart attack.
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.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Is there a test I can take to see if my arteries or blocked so I know if Im at risk of a having a heart attack?
- What is the likely cause of my heart attack?
- How serious was my heart attack?
- What course of treatment do you recommend? Do I need medicine? Surgery?
- Do I need to participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program?
- When can I return to normal physical and sexual activity?
- What is my risk of having another heart attack?
- Are my family members at an increased risk of heart attack?
- Do I need to take medicine to prevent another heart attack?
- Will the medicine interact with any of the medicine I already take?
- What lifestyle changes should I make at home to prevent another heart attack?
- Can sexual activity cause a heart attack?
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Factors You Cannot Control
- Pre-existing coronary heart diseases. These would include a previous heart attack, a prior angioplasty or bypass surgery, or angina.
- Age. In men, the risk increases after age 45 in women, the risk increases after age 55.
- Family history of early heart disease. Of particular concern are those whose father or brother was diagnosed before age 55 or whose mother or sister was diagnosed before age 65.
Q Any Dietary Things Happen To Slow Down Heart Attack Symptoms
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When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider
You should contact your healthcare provider anytime you have questions about your condition, care, medications, etc. This is especially true if you notice any changes to your health that havent yet become severe. Your provider can also tell you specific problems or signs that mean you should call them or seek medical attention.
When should I go to ER?
You should seek immediate medical attention if you have a sudden return or change in your symptoms, especially if they are symptoms of a heart attack or related problem. The main symptoms to watch for are:
- Chest pain or pain that radiates to your jaw, neck, back, arms or abdomen.
- Shortness of breath.
- Dizziness, feeling lightheaded or passing out.
- Heart palpitations.
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.
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Can I Prevent A Heart Attack
There are several things you can do that will help prevent a heart attack. Perhaps the most important of them is to get a yearly physical. This annual visit with your primary care provider is one of the most important ways to catch problems early. Conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes may not cause symptoms until they’re advanced, but a healthcare provider can easily catch them during an annual checkup.
There are several other steps many of which your primary care provider can offer guidance and resources about that you can take:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise .
- If you use tobacco products, quit as soon as possible.
- Manage your health, especially conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes .
However, because of the factors that you cant change especially your age and family history preventing a heart attack isnt always possible. Even so, it may be possible to delay when a heart attack happens. Recovering from a heart attack or virtually any illness, for that matter is also easier when youre healthy.
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.
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Q What Happens During A Heart Attack
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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Factors You Can Control
- Lack of physical activity
Having more than one risk factor increases your chance of having a heart attack. Therefore, it is very important to prevent or control risk factors that can be modified. If you have one or more of these factors, see your health care provider to find out how to reduce your risk of having a first or repeat heart attack.
Can You Have Sex After 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.
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Treatment For A Heart Attack
The goal of treatment for a heart attack is to relieve pain, preserve the heart muscle function, and prevent death.
Treatment in the emergency department may include:
- Intravenous therapy, such as nitroglycerin and morphine
- Continuous monitoring of the heart and vital signs
- Oxygen therapy to improve oxygenation to the damaged heart muscle
- Pain medicine to decrease pain. This, in turn, decreases the workload of the heart. The oxygen demand of the heart decreases.
- Cardiac medicine such as beta-blockers to promote blood flow to the heart, improve the blood supply, prevent arrhythmias, and decrease heart rate and blood pressure
- Fibrinolytic therapy. This is the intravenous infusion of a medicine that dissolves the blood clot, restoring blood flow.
- Antithrombin or antiplatelet therapy with aspirin or clopidogrel. This is used to prevent further blood clotting.
- Antihyperlipidemics. These medicines lower lipids in the blood, particularly low density lipid cholesterol. Statins are a group of antihyperlipidemic medicines. They include simvastatin, atorvastatin, and pravastatin. Bile acid sequestrantscolesevelam, cholestyramine, and colestipoland nicotinic acid are two other types of medicines that may be used to lower cholesterol levels.
You may need other procedures to restore blood flow to the heart. Those procedures are described below.
What Aggravates Your Chest Pains
If someone tells me that their chest pains increase with physical exertion or emotional stress, this is another indication were on the path to discovering a heart attack.However, many times, folks say that other things trigger and provoke their chest pain. For example, when they tell me that lying down intensifies the discomfort, I know were likely dealing with something other than a heart attack.
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Exercise And Heart Attack Prevention
Certain studies suggest that getting enough exercise may not only help prevent a heart attack, but also increase your chances of survival if you have one.
It even appears that the more exercise you get and the more intense your exercise, the better your odds are of surviving a heart attack.
One possible explanation for this connection is that when you exercise a lot, extra blood vessels may grow around the heart. Known as collateral blood vessels, they provide a way for blood to flow even if an artery gets blocked.
Exercise may also help lower your blood pressure, as well as raise levels of HDL cholesterol, notes Michigan Medicine.
Q What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Attack
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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 that supply the heart or brain. Strokes can be caused by bleeding from a blood vessel in the brain or from blood clots.
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 .
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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.
Heart Attack And Sudden Cardiac Arrest Differences
People often use these terms interchangeably, but they are not synonyms. A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked, and sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly. A heart attack is a circulation problem and sudden cardiac arrest is an electrical problem.
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Risk Factors For A Heart Attack
There are several factors that can increase the risk of a heart attack by contributing to the buildup of plaque within the coronary arteries. These factors may include:
- Advanced age
- Illegal drug use
Individuals may be more at risk if they have a family history of heart attacks. There is also a link between certain autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, and an increased risk of a heart attack.
Tips For Heart Attack Prevention
The goal after your heart attack is to keep your heart healthy and lower your risk of having another heart attack. Take your medications as directed, make healthy lifestyle changes, see your doctor for regular heart checkups, and consider a cardiac rehabilitation program.
Why do I need to take drugs after a heart attack?
You might take certain drugs after a heart attack to:
- Prevent blood clots
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Heart Attack Symptoms In Women Vs Men
Women are more likely than men to have silent heart attacks and heart attacks without chest pain. Heart attacks are also more likely to start when a woman is at rest or experiencing mental stress.
That means its especially important for women to watch out for symptoms like shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, nausea or vomiting, or pain in the jaw, arms or back.
Also, we now know that young women are particularly prone to a type of heart event called a spontaneous coronary artery dissection , which we talk about in more depth below.
What Is The Link
These two distinct heart conditions are linked. Sudden cardiac arrest can occur after a heart attack, or during recovery. Heart attacks increase the risk for sudden cardiac arrest. Most heart attacks do not lead to sudden cardiac arrest. But when sudden cardiac arrest occurs, heart attack is a common cause. Other heart conditions may also disrupt the hearts rhythm and lead to sudden cardiac arrest. These include a thickened heart muscle , heart failure, arrhythmias, particularly ventricular fibrillation, and long Q-T syndrome.
Fast action can save lives. Find out what to do if someone experiences a heart attack or cardiac arrest.
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