How Is A Heart Attack Diagnosed
Doctors typically diagnose a heart attack after they perform a physical exam and review your medical history. Your doctor will likely conduct an electrocardiogram to check your hearts electrical activity.
An echocardiogram, which uses sound waves to create an image of the hearts chambers and valves, can reveal how blood is flowing through the heart and what parts of the heart, if any, have been damaged.
Your doctor may also order a cardiac catheterization. This is a probe inserted into the blood vessels through a flexible tube called a catheter. It allows your doctor to view areas in and around your heart where plaque may have built up. They can also inject dye into your arteries, order an X-ray to see how the blood flows, and view any blockages.
Your healthcare team will likely also take a sample of your blood or perform other tests to see if theres evidence of heart muscle damage.
A commonly used blood test checks for levels of troponin T, a protein found in the heart muscle. Elevated levels of troponin T in the bloodstream is associated with a heart attack.
If youve had a heart attack, your doctor may recommend a procedure . These procedures can relieve pain and help prevent another heart attack from occurring.
Common procedures include:
Your doctor may also prescribe medications to treat your heart attack, including:
Take Your Medicines As Prescribed
Medicines can help protect your heart and lower the risk of future heart problems.
Its important to know which heart medicines you are taking, what they are for and the possible side effects to look out for. For more information about your heart medicines, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
Always talk to your doctor before taking any other medicines that you buy over the counter. Over-the-counter medicines are medicines you can buy from a pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop without a prescription. Many over-the-counter medicines can interact with your heart medicines.
What Is New In 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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Causes Of A Heart Attack
Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of heart attacks.
CHD is a condition in which the major blood vessels that supply the heart get clogged with deposits of cholesterol, known as plaques.
Before a heart attack, 1 of the plaques bursts , causing a blood clot to develop at the site of the rupture.
The clot may block the supply of blood to the heart, triggering a heart attack.
What To Do When Youre Having A Heart Attack
- Chew one adult-strength aspirin to help keep your blood from clotting.
- Stay on the phone with the emergency operator as you wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself to the hospital.
If youre not sure its a heart attack, dont ignore your symptoms. Call for help anyway. If you are having a heart attack, the sooner you get to the hospital, the sooner your care team can work to restore blood flow and reduce further heart damage.
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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.
Q What Is The Link Between Cardiac Arrest And Heart Attack
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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:
Icipate In Cardiac Rehabilitation
Cardiac rehabilitation is a program of support, exercise and education that is led by health professionals to improve your recovery and quality of life.
Attending cardiac rehab can help you recover and return to live a full and active life. You will also be supported to make long-term lifestyle changes to improve your heart health and wellbeing.
Speak to your doctor or visit the Heart Foundations Cardiac Services Directory to find out more about a local cardiac rehab program tailored to your needs.
Types Of Heart Attack
The type of heart attack you experienced determines the treatments that your medical team will recommend. These include:
- ST- segment elevation myocardial infarction : This type of heart attack occurs when a coronary artery is completely blocked.As a result, a large portion of the heart cannot receive blood, and the heart muscle quickly begins to die. STEMI are the deadliest type of heart attacks.
- Non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction : This type of heart attack occurs when a coronary artery is severely restricted but not entirely blocked. NSTEMIs usually cause less damage to the heart than their counterpart, STEMI.
Signs Of A Medical Emergency
A heart attack doesnt always include chest pain. You may be having a heart attack if you have sudden chest pain along with any of the following symptoms:
Angina is sometimes confused with a heart attack. Unlike a heart attack, angina doesnt cause permanent damage to heart tissue.
There are two main types of angina: stable and unstable. Stable angina is predictable. It comes on when youre physically active and the heart is pumping harder than usual. It tends to disappear when you rest.
Unstable angina can appear at any time, even when youre sitting down and relaxed. Unstable angina is a more serious concern because it strongly indicates youre at a greater risk of a heart attack.
If you arent sure whether youre experiencing angina or a heart attack, err on the side of caution and call your local emergency services. If you experience either type of angina, you should make an appointment to see your doctor soon.
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Q What Is Cardiac Arrest
Symptoms Of A Heart Attack
The following are the most common symptoms of a heart attack. But each person may have slightly different symptoms.
- Severe pressure, fullness, squeezing, pain, or discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes
- Pain or discomfort that spreads to the shoulders, neck, arms, or jaw
- Chest pain that gets worse
- Chest pain that doesn’t get better with rest or by taking nitroglycerin
- Chest pain that happens along with any of these symptoms:
- Sweating, cool, clammy skin, or paleness
- Shortness of breath
- Unexplained weakness or fatigue
- Rapid or irregular pulse
Although chest pain is the key warning sign of a heart attack, it may be confused with other conditions. These include indigestion, pleurisy, pneumonia, tenderness of the cartilage that attaches the front of the ribs to the breastbone, and heartburn. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
How Are Heart Attacks Diagnosed
Healthcare providers usually diagnose heart attacks in an emergency room setting. Anyone with heart attack symptoms should undergo a physical examination, including checking pulse, blood oxygen levels and blood pressure and listening to heart and lung sounds.
A healthcare provider will diagnose a heart attack using the following:
- History and symptoms: The provider will ask you about the symptoms you experienced. They might also ask someone who was with you to describe what happened.
- Blood tests: During a heart attack, the damage to heart muscle cells almost always causes a chemical marker, a cardiac troponin, to appear in your bloodstream. Blood tests that look for that marker are among the most reliable methods to diagnose a heart attack.
- Electrocardiogram : This is one of the first tests you get when you come to an ER with heart attack symptoms.
- Echocardiogram: Using ultrasound , an echocardiogram generates a picture of the inside and outside of your heart.
- Angiogram: This test shows areas with little or no blood flow.
- Heart computed tomography scan: This creates a highly detailed scan of your heart.
- Heart MRI: This test uses a powerful magnetic field and computer processing to create an image of your heart.
- Nuclear heart scans: Similar to angiography, these scans use a radioactive dye injected into your blood. What sets them apart from an angiogram is that they use computer-enhanced methods like computed tomography or positron emission tomography scans.
What Do These Early Symptoms Typically Look Like
Dr. Xu says the majority of patients experience somewhat typical symptoms, such as radiating chest pain, heaviness or discomfort, heart palpitations, cold sweats, and shortness of breath. Others — women more so than men — will experience some atypical symptoms as well, which may include fatigue, a general sense of unease, vague discomfort, back or abdominal pain and declining stamina. Both types of symptoms can be experienced months before an actual heart attack occurs.
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.
Why Choose The Hospitals Of Providence For Your Early Heart Attack Care
The Hospitals of Providence has EHAC teams who genuinely care about you and your loved ones. Our hospitals are located across El Paso to provide accessible care to the communities in this city and nearby areas. At the same time, we have received multiple recognitions for the compassionate care and patient-centered cardiovascular services we offer.
Some of the accreditations and recognitions we received in recent years are as follows:
For Sierra Campus
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Why Is It Common In The Morning
Heart attacks are more common during this period because there is a sudden increase in demand on our heart, our coronary arteries are more constricted and our capacity to dissolve blood clots is diminished, a data published by the Philippine Council for health research and development.
According to a study published in a cardiology journal heart, the heart attacks that occurred in the morning hours were associated with about 20% more dead heart tissue.
You must know these signs and symptoms of Heart attack
In the early hours of the morning, your levels of PAI-1a protein that prevents your body from breaking down blood clots, a major contributor to heart attack and strokespike.
During the early morning hours, the blood platelets are stickier and increased adrenaline released from the adrenal glands can trigger the rupture of plaques in coronary arteries. Your body also sees a natural surge in cortisol, taxing your heart.
In a study performed on mice, it has discovered that the heart rate is slow in the morning with irregular heartbeats. As the heart loses the regularity of the beat, it cannot pump blood efficiently and a person can die suddenly. The data published in the journal Nature.
It further links the risk between a protein, KLF15, and the bodys natural circadian rhythm.
Early morning when you wake up, our body and heart need more supply of oxygen to awaken the relaxed cardiovascular system. Also, more energy needed to perform other activities.
When Anxiety Attacks The Body: Physical Symptoms
In some cases, heightened levels of anxiety can cause chest pain to develop. Anxiety is the bodys reaction to a perceived threat, explains Richa Bhatia, MD, FAPA, of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
When people are anxious, their blood supply to different parts of the body can be decreased because the body is in a fight-or-flight response and more blood is directed to the muscles, she says. Dr. Bhatia adds that people in a state of heightened anxiety often hyperventilate and breathe in a shallow manner, which can cause dizziness or chest tightness.
What a Panic Attack Feels Like
Experiencing chest pain because of anxiety can be one of the symptoms of a panic attack, which is defined as a feeling of sudden, intense fear and the severe onset of four or more of these symptoms:4
- numbness and tingling
- fear of going crazy or of losing control.
A panic attack can happen when a person is feeling anxious, or it can occur out of the blue. The symptoms described above tend to last for roughly 10 minutes before fading. It is possible to have several panic attacks within a number of hours, which can feel like the attacks are coming in waves. Some people experience panic attacks daily or weekly. A milder variation of panic attacks, known as limited-symptom attacks, feature three or fewer of the symptoms listed above.5
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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.