Black American Communities And Heart Attacks
While the overall risk of heart disease varies among different racial and ethnic groups in the United States, there is less data on heart attacks specifically.
According to the American Heart Association, the rate of cardiovascular disease in Black Americans is about 23 percent higher in men, and 33 percent higher in women, compared with the overall U.S. population.
Non-Hispanic Black Americans have the highest rate of death from heart disease at 208 per 100,000 people, according to the CDC. Next come non-Hispanic white Americans at 169, Hispanic Americans at 114, and Asian Americans at 86.
Researchers have found that among U.S. hospitals with sufficient data, the rate of death from heart attacks in Black patients was nearly identical to that of white patients. But the hospital readmission rate for Black patients was 4.3 percentage points higher than for white patients, according to an investigation published September 2018 in JAMA Open Network.
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.
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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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 Are The Symptoms Of A Heart Attack
Symptoms of a heart attack include:
- Angina: Chest pain or discomfort in the center of the chest also 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. It is sometimes mistakenly thought to be indigestion or heartburn.
- Pain or discomfort in other areas of the upper body including the arms, left shoulder, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
- Trouble breathing or feeling shortness of breath.
- Sweating or “cold sweat.”
- Rapid or irregular heart beats.
If you are having any of these symptoms and they last for more than 5 minutes, SEEK EMERGENCY TREATMENT WITHOUT DELAY. These symptoms could be the signs of a heart attack and you need to get treatment as soon as possible.
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How Is A Heart Attack Diagnosed
A heart attack is a medical emergency. If youre experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack, call Triple Zero and ask for an ambulance. An ambulance is the safest way to go to hospital and the quickest way to seek treatment. Treatment can start when ambulance staff arrive, saving precious minutes and preventing damage to your heart muscle. Once you get to hospital, your doctor will perform tests to diagnose if youre having a heart attack. These tests will also measure the amount of damage caused to your heart and the best treatment course to take.These tests include:
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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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of A Heart Attack
The most common symptom of a heart attack is chest pain or discomfort. Other symptoms of a heart attack include:
- shortness of breath
- to the neck, jaw or shoulders
Most symptoms of a heart attack are the same for men and women.
Women are more likely to feel some discomfort in the chest rather than a sharp pain or tightness. The milder symptoms do not mean that a woman’s heart attack is any less severe than a man’s heart attack. Any symptoms of a heart attack should be taken seriously.
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.
How Is A Nstemi Diagnosed
In addition to signs such as chest pain, a heart attack is diagnosed mainly through 2 ways. Firstly is a blood test that shows elevated levels of certain markers of heart damage such as cardiac troponin. Secondly is by looking at the EKG heart tracing. If there is a pattern known as ST-elevation on the EKG, this is called a STEMI, short for ST elevation myocardial infarction. If there is elevation of the blood markers suggesting heart damage, but no ST elevation seen on the EKG tracing, this is known as a NSTEMI. NSTEMI may be associated with other EKG changes such as ST segment depression. Often looking at the EKG helps us to locate the area of the heart that is affected.
Social Determinants Of Health
Social determinants such as neighborhood disadvantage, immigration status, lack of social support, social isolation, access to health services play an important role in myocardial infarction risk and survival. Studies have shown that low socioeconomic status is associated with an increased risk of poorer survival. There are well-documented disparities in myocardial infarction survival by socioeconomic status, race, education, and census-tract-level poverty.
Race: In the U.S. African Americans have a greater burden of myocardial infarction and other cardiovascular events. On a population level, there is a higher overall prevalence of risk factors that are unrecognized and therefore not treated, which places these individuals at a greater likelihood of experiencing adverse outcomes and therefore potentially higher morbidity and mortality.
Socioeconomic status: Among individuals who live in the low-socioeconomic areas, which is close to 25% of the US population, myocardial infarctions occurred twice as often compared with people who lived in higher SES areas.
Immigration status: In 2018 many lawfully present immigrants who are eligible for coverage remain uninsured because immigrant families face a range of enrollment barriers, including fear, confusion about eligibility policies, difficulty navigating the enrollment process, and language and literacy challenges. Uninsured undocumented immigrants are ineligible for coverage options due to their immigration status.
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Prevention Of A Heart Attack
You can help prevent a heart attack by managing certain risk factors and making healthy lifestyle choices.
Its important to keep tabs on your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and body weight, and to take action when any of these reaches an unhealthy level. If you have diabetes, its also important to manage your blood sugar well.
A heart-healthy lifestyle involves not smoking, getting enough physical activity, and following a healthy diet thats rich in fruits, vegetables, fiber, healthy fats, and lean . You should drink in moderation, if at all, and try to reduce or manage stress.
Duration Of A Heart Attack
If you experience symptoms that may indicate a heart attack for longer than five minutes, its important to seek emergency medical attention immediately.
Dont delay treatment by waiting to see if your symptoms go away. Even if your symptoms let up or change, there may be ongoing damage to your heart.
If treatment begins within an hour of the onset of symptoms, a heart attack is less likely to cause significant or long-lasting damage to your heart muscle.
Unfortunately, many people delay treatment for a heart attack by several hours, increasing the risk of long-term disability or death.
Depending on your treatment needs, you may need to be hospitalized for a heart attack for several days or longer.
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How Is A Heart Attack Different From Cardiac Arrest
People often use these terms to mean the same thing, but they describe different events.
A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked. Its a circulation problem.
With sudden cardiac arrest , the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly. Sudden cardiac arrest is an electrical problem.
A heart attack can cause a cardiac arrest. In cardiac arrest , death results when the heart suddenly stops working properly. This is caused by irregular heart rhythms called arrhythmias.
The most common arrhythmia in cardiac arrest is ventricular fibrillation. This is when the hearts lower chambers suddenly start beating chaotically and dont pump blood. Death occurs within minutes after the heart stops.
Cardiac arrest may be reversed if CPR is performed and a defibrillator is used within minutes to shock the heart and restore a normal heart rhythm.
Recovering From A Heart Attack
The time it takes to recover from a heart attack will depend on the amount of damage to your heart muscle.
Most people can return to work after having a heart attack. Some people are well enough to return to work after 2 weeks. Other people may take several months to recover. How quickly you can go back to work depends on your health, the state of your heart and the type of work you do.
The recovery process aims to:
- reduce your risk of another heart attack through a combination of lifestyle changes , and medicines , which help to lower blood cholesterol levels
- gradually restore your physical fitness so you can resume normal activities
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Medical Definition Of Heart Attack
- Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Reviewed on 3/29/2021
Heart attack: The death of heart muscle due to the loss of blood supply. The loss of blood supply is usually caused by a complete blockage of a coronary artery, one of the arteries that supplies blood to the heart muscle. Death of the heart muscle, in turn, causes chest pain and electrical instability of the heart muscle tissue.
The electrical instability of the heart causes ventricular fibrillation . Orderly transmission of electrical signals in the heart is important for the regular beating of the heart. A heart undergoing ventricular fibrillation simply quivers and can not pump or deliver oxygenated blood to the brain. Permanent brain damage and death can occur unless oxygenated blood flow is restored within five minutes.
Many heart attack deaths are due to ventricular fibrillation that occurs before the victim can reach any medical assistance or the emergency room. These electrical disturbances of the heart can often be successfully treated with medications or other means by paramedics in the “field,” or upon arrival to the hospital. Approximately 90-95% of heart attack victims who reach the hospital survive. The 5-10% who later die are those who have suffered major heart muscle damage, or who suffer an “extension” or enlargement of their heart attack.
What Is The Outlook
Your outlook following a stroke or heart attack depends greatly on the severity of the event and how quickly you get treatment.
Some people who have a stroke will experience damage that makes walking or talking difficult for a long time. Others lose brain function that never returns. For many of those who were treated soon after symptoms began, complete recovery may be possible.
Following a heart attack, you can expect to resume most of the activities you enjoyed before if you do all of the following:
- follow your doctors orders
- participate in cardiac rehabilitation
- maintain a healthy lifestyle
Your life expectancy will depend greatly on whether you adhere to heart-healthy behaviors. If you have a stroke or heart attack, its important to take the rehabilitation process seriously and stick with it. As challenging as it may be at times, the payoff is a much better quality of life.
Many of the same strategies that can help prevent a stroke can also help reduce your chances of having a heart attack. These include:
- getting your cholesterol and blood pressure levels into a healthy range
- not smoking
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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.
Examples Of Heart Attack In A Sentence
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These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘heart attack.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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Research And Statistics: How Many People Have Heart Attacks
Someone in the United States has a heart attack every 40 seconds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
According to the CDC, 1 in 5 heart attacks are silent, meaning that the person isnt aware of it and doesnt seek immediate medical attention.
About 805,000 people in the United States have a heart attack each year, the CDC estimates. Out of these, about 605,000 are the persons first heart attack, while 200,000 are in people who have previously had one.
The average age for a first heart attack is 65.6 for men and 72.0 for women, according to the American Heart Association.
Fewer than 10 percent of heart attacks are fatal, according to Harvard Medical School. This rate has dropped in recent decades, likely due to wider use of treatments in the early stages of a heart attack.
Still, the broader category of heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 647,000 deaths each year, or 1 in 4 deaths.
The burden of heart disease also varies widely across U.S. states and territories. The rate of death from cardiovascular disease is nearly twice as high in Mississippi, which has the highest rate, compared with Puerto Rico, which has the lowest rate. Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana have the next highest rates of death from cardiovascular disease, while Minnesota, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Hawaii have the next lowest.