Heart Attack – Know Enough About This Life Threatening Situation
All we know about heart attack is that it is a life threatening condition. But are we really aware what it takes a heart to lose his life? The answer is not. That is why most of the people ended up in the emergency room with heart issues and heart attack being the most common reason. Lack of knowledge about the issues and the underlying health issues contributing to the onset of heart attacks along with other related life threatening conditions are some of the factors which are responsible for the increase in the rate of death due to heart attacks. Do you know heart attacks can be prevented? Yes, they can be and for that, you need to know what is a heart attack and how it develops and what can you do to prevent the situation.
What is a heart attack?
Basically, a heart attack is death of bunch of heart muscles. This happens when the flow of blood to these muscles gets restricted by any factor especially cholesterol or the fatty deposition inside the blood vessels. A blood clot developed within the blood vessels is a major concern when a heart attack is considered.
The heart muscle needs a continuous supply of oxygen-rich blood to stay active seamlessly. The coronary arteries carry out the function of supplying blood to the heart muscles. These arteries become narrow in people dealing with coronary heart disease. As a result, they cannot transport blood as effectively they should. As mentioned earlier, fatty deposition within the inner walls of those arteries are the culprits here. They shrink the arteries in diameter and restrict the flow of blood to the heart muscles. These fatty depositions, often called as plaque depositions, are tough on the outside while soft in the inside.
When plaque ruptures, platelets start surrounding it and form a clot like structure. This blood clot is enough to block the coronary arteries and thus flow of blood to the heart muscles gets blocked completely. It takes a short period of time for heart muscles to die. This leads to permanent damage and this is termed as heart attack in medical terminology.
A heart attack due to blockage of coronary arteries is common. In some unusual cases, a heart attack happens due to spasm of a coronary artery. In this situation, the coronary artery spasm causing reduction in the blood supply to the heart muscles. This type of heart attack can develop in people with no coronary heart diseases.
A network of coronary arteries has the responsibility to supply blood to the various parts of the heart. The amount of damage occurred to the heart muscles depends on the size of the affected area and the time spent between the onset of a heart attack and treatment.
How to know it is a heart attack
You need to check for following symptoms and take immediate action.
- Discomfort or pain or heaviness in the chest, arm or at the area below the collarbone
- Symptoms similar to heartburn
- Abnormally irregular heartbeats
- Shortness of breath
- Pain spreading to back, neck and jaw
What causes heart attack?
Following are the factors that cause or contribute in the onset of heart attack.
Studies have revealed that a heart attack is more common in men who are 45 years and older and women who are 55 years and older.
This issue develops when the heart muscles are deprived of oxygen and blood supply. This condition causes immense chest pain and often leads to a heart attack if not treated on time.
High cholesterol levels
Cholesterol can line the inner walls of the arteries and plays an important in forming plaque which later might burst forming a blood clot. Thus, high cholesterol levels often lead to heart attacks.
Uncontrolled high blood sugar levels affect the blood vessels and become one of the reasons for heart attack onset.
A diet high in fats leads to high cholesterol level and further to heart attacks.
One’s risk of suffering from a heart attack increases if either of his parents has suffered a heart attack.
An unusual factor but heart surgeries may cause heart attack later in life.
High blood pressure when becomes unmanageable, it affects the blood vessels badly increasing your risk of getting a heart attack.
Being overweight invites a wide range of health issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure which ultimately increase your risk of developing a heart attack.
Smokers are at the highest risk of suffering a heart attack than non-smokers.
People affected with HIV are 50% more prone to suffer a heart attack than other people.
This factor has to be in the list as this leads to various health issues and heart attack is one of them.
When a heart attack happens, one has to get medical treatment on an immediate basis. A CPR should be done immediately before starting any other treatment. CPR involves manual chest compression and a defibrillator. Several types of medicines are prescribed to the patient once he is survived the heart attack. These medicines include aspirin or other anti-coagulating medications, statins to lower the cholesterol levels, beta blockers etc.