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Why Heart Attacks Happen

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Why Didnt I Have Any Warning

Why are heart attacks more likely to happen on Monday?

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.

What Should I Do If I Have Symptoms Of Heart Attack

If you think you may be having a heart attack, get treatment right away. Follow these steps:

  • Dial 911 Do not have someone else drive you to the hospital. Do not try to drive yourself. EMTs will give you life-saving treatment in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
  • After calling for help, take 1 uncoated adult aspirin or 4 uncoated baby aspirins . Dont take this if youre allergic to aspirin.
  • If you are alone and are able, unlock your door to let emergency personnel enter your home.
  • Sit in a comfortable chair and wait for help.
  • Keep a phone near you.

What Is A Heart Attack

Heart attack signs and symptoms in men and women: Chest pain or discomfort Shortness of breath Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, back, arm, or shoulder Feeling nauseous, light-headed, or unusually tired.

A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, happens when a part of the heart muscle doesnt get enough blood.

The more time that passes without treatment to restore blood flow, the greater the damage to the heart muscle.

Coronary artery disease is the main cause of heart attack. A less common cause is a severe spasm, or sudden contraction, of a coronary artery that can stop blood flow to the heart muscle.

Also Check: How To Determine Resting Heart Rate

Causes Of Coronary Artery Disease

When you are young, your coronary arteries usually have smooth healthy walls. As you get older, the inner lining of your coronary arteries comes under attack from risk factors like toxins from cigarette smoke, mechanical injury from high blood pressure, high cholesterol or blood sugar from a diet high in saturated fats and sugars, and lack of exercise. These injuries start a chain of events that lead to the build-up of fatty streaks in your coronary arteries.

There are a number of factors that are known to increase your risk of coronary artery disease. Some risk factors you cant do anything about include age, ethnicity, gender, personal or family history of heart attack or stroke.

Other risk factors are within your power to change, such as smoking, high cholesterol, high blood sugar , high blood pressure, being overweight, physical inactivity, poor nutrition and poor mental health and wellbeing.

There are choices you can make today to better manage your coronary artery disease and help to lower your risk of having another heart attack.

Are There Complications Of A Heart Attack

Why Heart Attack Signs Differ in Men &  Women

Complications following a heart attack can include:

  • Arrhythmia your heart may develop an irregular heartbeat following a heart attack due to damaged heart muscles disrupting electrical signals.
  • Heart failure your heart may have ongoing difficulty pumping enough blood, due to its muscles being too weak or stiff.
  • Cardiogenic shock where your whole body goes into shock from extensive heart muscle damage.
  • Heart rupture this is a rare but serious complication in which the hearts muscles, walls or valves split apart.

These can be dangerous if untreated, but your healthcare team will help to manage them if they occur.

Recommended Reading: Why Does Your Heart Rate Go Up When You Exercise

Prevention Of Heart Attacks

You can help prevent a heart attack by knowing your risk factors for coronary artery disease and heart attack and taking action to lower those risks. Even if youve already had a heart attack or are told that your chances of having a heart attack are high, you can still lower your risk, most likely by making a few lifestyle changes that promote better health.

  • Dont smoke. Your doctor may recommend methods for quitting, including nicotine replacement.
  • Eat a diet low in fat, cholesterol and salt.
  • See your doctor regularly for blood pressure and cholesterol monitoring.
  • Pursue a program of moderate, regular aerobic exercise. People over age 50 who have led a sedentary lifestyle should check with a doctor before beginning an exercise program.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight.
  • Your doctor may advise you to take a low dose of aspirin regularly. Aspirin reduces the tendency for the blood to clot, thereby decreasing the risk of heart attack. However, such a regimen should only be initiated under a doctors expressed recommendation.
  • Women at or approaching menopause should discuss the possible cardio-protective benefits of estrogen replacement therapy with their doctor.

Why Does A Heart Attack Happen

Heart attack is a scary topic. Why does a heart attack happen? The truth is, the likelihood of getting a heart attack is much less than you think it is.

But heart attack still happens due to cholesterol level and blood sugar level. One of the more common reasons that people suffer a heart attack is high blood pressure. Blood pressure is controlled by the bodys heart and valves, which play a role in blood flow.

High blood pressure can cause blood to pool in the arteries, and this then puts stress on the heart and valves, causing them to work harder than normal. This can lead to a heart attack.

The good news is that the problem can be prevented with a few simple tips and tricks.

Also Check: How To Improve Ejection Fraction After Heart Attack

Why Heart Attack Happens And How You Can Prevent It

This is the quintessential question to ask everyone you know. Heart attack is one of the most common health issues, so its a topic that affects everyone. Why does a heart attack happen?

Your heart beats approximately 150 times a minute, making it one of the most powerful organs in your body. In fact, every year, 17.9 billion people get heart attacks and die.

The good news is that you can prevent them from happening by having a healthy lifestyle and eating right.

In addition to having a healthy lifestyle, eating right will help heal your body and prevent disease. Eating healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help reduce cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels, which in turn help your arteries maintain proper size and function.

Eating right also helps control blood pressure however, all food should be eaten raw or undercooked before consumption, as it may cause worsening blood pressure issues in those who have high blood pressure.

Can I Prevent Having A Heart Attack

Why heart attacks happen more often in December

In general, there are many things that you can do that may prevent a heart attack. However, some factors beyond your control especially your family history can still lead to a heart attack despite your best efforts. Still, reducing your risk can postpone when you have a heart attack and reduce the severity if you have one.

Read Also: How Does Heart Failure Affect The Lungs

Q If I Am On Medication To Treat Heart Disease Does That Mean I Am No Longer At Risk Of A Heart Attack

  • No, this means you are working towards lowering your risk of future heart attacks. Having said that, some of the causes resulting in heart attacks may be hereditary or genetic. Heart attacks in these instances can still occur. It is best to speak with your doctor on what you can to minimise the risk as much as possible.
  • Heart Attack: What It Is And Why Does It Happen

    January 22, 2018 | BY BIOTRICITY

    Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack. Over the course of a year, approximately 790,000 Americans have a heart attack, and of these cases 580,000 are a first heart attack and 210,000 are subsequent events. Coronary artery disease is the main cause of heart attack, and the most common type of heart disease. The disease manifests when the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle become hardened and narrowed, which can subsequently cause heart attacks, chest pains, or strokes.

    So, what is a heart attack?

    A heart attack occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. This is a serious medical emergency because your heart needs oxygen to survive, and you need your heart to survive. The process leading up to a heart attack goes like this:

    What are heart attack risk factors?

    Heart attack risk factors are made up of the usual culprits: unhealthy diet, inactivity, smoking, and stress. There are, however, some risk factors that you cant change. These are:

    Prevention of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease can never start too early. It is important to know all of your risk factors so that you can work closely with your doctor to address them and work towards prevention.

    Recovery & Prevention

    Read Also: Congestive Heart Failure Prognosis

    How To Operate An Aed

    AEDs include step-by-step instructions and voice prompts, and are meant to be used by untrained bystanders. Anyone who witnesses a person collapse can operate an AED, as long as it’s confirmed that the unconscious person’s breathing and pulse are absent or irregular.

    Before using the AED, bystanders should call 911 so paramedics can be dispatched. If the AED isn’t immediately available, one person should begin CPR and a second person should run to get the closest one. Users should check for puddles of water or move the unconscious person to a dry area before operating the device.

    The device will instruct users to expose the person’s chest and attach sticky pads with electric sensors to it. The machine uses these sensors to analyze heart rhythm, and, if needed, will let users know to press a button to deliver an electric shock.

    After giving a shock, the machine will instruct users to perform CPR until emergency medical help arrives, or may prompt them to deliver another shock two minutes later.

    “They’re user-friendly and easily taken off the wall or from their location, and they definitely save lives when used in time,” says Dr. Walsh. “But it’s very important to be familiar with them in general, and to know where exactly you can find them in an emergency.”

    To learn more about how to protect your heart, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter

    Why Is It Common In The Morning

    What Women Need to Know About Strokes and Heart Attacks

    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.

    Read Also: What Should Heart Rate Be While Exercising

    Symptoms Of A Heart Attack

    Heart attack symptoms vary from person to person. They can include:

    • pain or discomfort in your chest that happens suddenly and doesnt go away
    • pain that spreads to your left or right arm, or to your neck, jaw, back or stomach. For some people the pain or tightness is severe, while for others its uncomfortable. It may feel like heaviness, or a burning pain similar to indigestion
    • feeling sick, sweaty, light-headed or short of breath.

    Its possible to have a heart attack without experiencing all these symptoms, and its important to remember everyone experiences pain differently. This is common in the elderly or people with diabetes, as the condition can cause nerve damage which affects how you feel pain.

    Link Between High Pressure And Heart Attack In Young Age

    It won’t be wrong to call todays generation a junk food generation. These days, youngsters are too habitual of having fat rich junk diets. Because of these dietary habits people are developing issues of obesity and abnormally raised blood cholesterol, thereby causing high blood pressure problems in very early ages. High blood pressure causes thickening of your heart muscles thereby harming your normal blood flow and resulting in an inevitable heart attack.

    Recommended Reading: How To Bring Heart Rate Down

    How Is A Heart Attack Treated

    Quick treatment to get the blood flowing to your heart muscle again is important. This can reduce the amount of permanent damage to your heart and save your life.

    Many people need to have emergency treatment to restore the blood flow:

    • Coronary angioplasty re-opens the blocked coronary artery by inserting one or more stents. This helps keep the narrowed artery open.
    • Thrombolysis involves giving you clot-busting medicine to dissolve the blood clot thats blocking the coronary artery.
    • Coronary bypass surgery helps to restore normal blood flow by using a blood vessel from your leg, arm or chest in your heart to bypass the blocked artery.

    You might not have these treatments if your doctor decides its not safe or necessary.

    Abrupt Changes In Blood Pressure

    How Does A Heart Attack Happen

    Blood pressure follows a daily pattern. It is normally lower at night while you are sleeping and starts to rise a few hours before waking up. This rise in BP continues during the day, usually peaking in the middle of the afternoon. By late afternoon or evening, your BP would begin to drop again.

    Must read Hypertension: Beware of this silent killer.

    In the morning, the body releases certain hormones such as adrenaline and noradrenaline. These hormones give you energy boosts but can also raise your BP. This morning increase in BP is usually seen between 6 am and noon.

    Hence, when you first wake up in the morning, blood pressure increases due to the bodys normal circadian rhythm. One of them is a morning surge in BP , which results in an increased risk of damage to the brain, heart, and kidneys.

    Suggested read How to hold your pee if no bathroom insight

    In the nutshell

    Events like stroke or Heart Attack, or Cardiac arrest can happen to anybody anywhere at any time. Its good that everyone is familiar with heart attack signs, stroke, and cardiac arrest.

    Also, it is surely found that blood pressure plays a critical role in all these events. Get some natural ideas to manage blood pressure here.

    Finally, making basic lifestyle changes is the most effective way to prevent cardiac arrest or heart attack or stroke events.

    Recommended Reading: Is Stomach Ache Sign Of Heart Attack

    Don’t Miss: What Should Sleeping Heart Rate Be

    What Are The Complications Of A Heart Attack

    Complications associated with heart attacks include:

    • Arrhythmias : Management options include medication, pacemaker placement, implantable cardioverter defibrillator placement and other options.
    • Heart failure: If enough heart tissue has died, your heart is now weakened and cant pump blood effectively, which can lead to heart failure.
    • Heart valve problems: Depending on the area of heart damage, your heart valves may be affected. Catheter-based procedures or surgery are treatment options for heart valve problems.
    • Sudden cardiac arrest: This sudden stoppage of your heart can be caused by arrhythmia.
    • Depression and anxiety: Talk to your healthcare provider. Management includes medication and counseling. Joining a support group can help.

    About Half Of All Heart Attacks Are Mistaken For Less Serious Problems And Can Increase Your Risk Of Dying From Coronary Artery Disease

    Image: goir/Getty Images

    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 chest pain 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 Women’s 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 heartburn.

    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.

    Also Check: How To Raise Resting Heart Rate

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