Heart attack medically referred to as ‘myocardial infarction’ or ‘coronary artery disease’ is claiming millions of lives in the world today. They can be slow and progressive and at times, fast and regressive. A heart attack is the occurrence of heart tissue death due to coronary thrombosis. Coronary thrombosis is a blockage of one of the coronary arteries by a blood clot. This blockage does not allow blood to flow properly through the arteries to the heart, and the lack of blood results in heart tissue death. While the tissue that is affected immediately might be small, it has severe consequences for the overall functioning of the heart.
The heart is a muscle that pumps blood that does not have oxygen to the lungs. Here, the blood picks up oxygen and is then transported back to the heart so that it can then pump blood to the entire body. This action of pumping blood to the farther points of the body requires much strength by the heart. When part of the heart muscle dies due to a lack of oxygen, the other parts of the heart are required to work harder to maintain blood flow.
It may lead to the formation of blood clots that will continue to block blood to the heart and cause further tissue damage. When the tissue damage is severe, the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently, causing a heart attack. A heart attack can be fatal, precisely because people are known to confuse their symptoms with other illnesses often.
This usually happens due to building up of plaque leading to atherosclerosis. Over time this plaque can eventually burst, rupture, and even tear off, creating a stumbling block that blocks the artery developing a clot, called a thrombus. This clot can enlarge with time and partially stop blood flow causing angina or stop blood flows ultimately, causing heart attacks.
Heart attacks are life-storms that strike all of a sudden at any time. The higher you neglect, the more suffering due to the death of muscle cells permanently. At times, severe injury of the muscle can paralyze the person.

Common Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms

Heart attack symptoms may vary from one person to another person. Symptoms of heart attack are more predictable in men than women. Today, millions of people are being affected, and life is at stake because of a heart attack. It can occur when the blood supply to the heart is cut off completely, thus causing the heart cells to die.
A heart attack is a silent killer in diabetes mellitus patients, whose chances of survival and retrieval are less when compared to healthy people. If you are aware of the symptoms of a heart attack, you can save yourself and others.
These are some of the primary signs that appear before a heart attack commences.

  • Chest Discomfort

    Pain in the center of the chest area that lasts for more than a few minutes is one of the most prominent signs of an impending heart attack and should be taken seriously.

  • Shortness of Breath

    Whether it becomes before or after chest pain or discomfort, there is likely also to be shortness of breath when a heart attack is approaching.

  • Upper Body Discomfort

    In addition to shortness of breath and discomfort in the lungs, general upper body pains may also be a sign of a heart attack. It may also be crushing pain that radiates to the shoulder, neck, arm (mostly left arm), jaw, and back.s

  • Cold Sweat

    This is a minor symptom, but it may be present in someone who is about to suffer from a heart attack.

  • Light Headedness & Nausea

    Additionally, nausea and feeling light-headed are other signs that should be taken seriously.

  • Heartburn and/or indigestion

    These two symptoms of heart attack are often taken lightly or ignored by people.

    • Symptoms of excessive perspiration.
    • Loss of consciousness.
    • Heart palpitations.
  • Paleness

    It is one of the warning signs.

Even if a person has no history of heart problems, it is essential to know and watch out for any of these signs as they may point to a heart attack.

Causes of Heart Attack

Heart attack causes are wide and varied. Numerous causes can lead to a heart attack. If you are aware of what actually causes a heart attack and if you have a proper understanding of heart attack causes, you can protect yourself, leaving no stone unturned.
The leading heart attack cause is when the artery leading to the heart muscle is blocked. This blockage occurs due to fatty deposits and plaque formation (atherosclerosis), preventing blood flow and cutting oxygen supply to the heart, which causes a heart attack.
CHD is the primary cause of heart attacks in the United States. Coronary heart disease is characterized by plaque build-up in the arteries. The plaque that builds up narrows these vessels, which provide your heart with blood and oxygen. It increases the amount of work your heart is required to exert in order to get the right amount of blood to the rest of our body.
The plaque that causes the death hardens in the arteries and results from fatty material consumed by individuals. This plaque might remain stable in the arteries for a very long time frame; however, there is always that chance that it can rupture. When the plaque surface is broken, blood clots form at the surface. Once this occurs, it can grow to a point where it blocks the artery completely. This blockage stops oxygen-rich blood from flowing to the heart. If the blockage is not removed, it can be fatal. It is important to understand symptoms to know when to contact your physician and receive treatment.
Some common underlying heart attack causes are:

  • Age factor – Men above age 45 and women above age 55 have a high incidence of a heart attack.
  • Angina pectoris – Angina is a warning signal for heart attack. Angina is nothing but a chest pain. Usually, angina causes a heart attack.
  • High blood cholesterol level – People who have high cholesterol levels run into a greater risk of a heart attack.
  • Heart surgery – Heart surgeries contribute to a small percentage is causing a heart attack.
  • Hypertension – Uncontrolled or untreated hypertension causes a heart attack.
  • Heredity – Having a family history of a heart attack.
  • DiabetesDiabetes causes a silent heart attack.
  • Obesity, overweight, and physical inactivity.
  • Heavy intake of fatty foods.
  • Smoking, cocaine, and over alcohol consumption causes coronary artery spasms.
heart posture view

Heart Attack Prevention

For the prevention of heart attacks, a healthy lifestyle is recommended.

  • Blood Thinning Medication

    There are a variety of medicines that may be used to thin your blood so that your blood has less of a chance of clogging and causing you problems. A doctor will prescribe these. You should follow their directions carefully when taking any medication to thin the blood and be aware of any possible side effects.

  • Medicine to Lower Cholesterol

    This is another option that your doctor or health care professional may take to help lessen the chance of a heart attack. When taking this medication, it is crucial to follow the prescription carefully.

  • Eat Healthily

    Eating healthy foods in moderation can go a long way in making sure your body is healthy, and your heart doesn’t need to work harder than it should to pump blood through your body.

  • Exercise

    Exercise is important to keep your body healthy and heart issues at bay.

  • No Smoking

    No smoking and managing stress levels.

There are many other things you should put into place to avoid problems with your heart, but knowing the major heart attack signs and having a plan in place to deal with them when they appear is crucial if you want to survive a heart attack.

Heart Attack FAQs

Question 1

What are the risk factors related to a heart attack?
Answer: Aside from diet, other risk factors include age, gender (men have a higher risk), family history, and race (African, Mexican, and Native Americans) all have higher chances. These factors are those that you are not able to change. However, there are modifiable risk factors that you can help to reduce. These include having diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, smoking, chronic kidney disease, having had previous heart issues, being overweight, and getting little physical activity. Reducing these risk factors is an essential step to managing your health.

Question 2

What does a heart attack feel like?
Answer: It can feel like uncomfortable pressure and pain in the heart. It causes discomfort in other upper-body areas, for example, arms, back, neck, or stomach.

Question 3

Are the symptoms of heart attack different in women?
Answer: Yes. Apart from chest pain, women may also feel shortness of breath, abdominal pain or heartburn, nausea or vomiting, and unexplained fatigue.

Question 4

How can I prevent a heart attack?
Answer: There are various problems that cause heart disease and other conditions. But, adopting a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of an attack.

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