A Heart attack occurs when there is a decrease in blood flow to a portion of the muscle. It is usually caused by an obstruction in the artery that is nearby.

Someone who has a heart attack or myocardial infarction may experience discomfort in their chest and other body areas and may experience different signs.

The early warning signs of heart attack and obtaining timely treatment are essential and could save a patient’s life.

A heart attack is distinct (Trusted Source) from cardiac arrest when the heart ceases to function completely. These are all medical emergencies, and if not treated, an attack on the heart could lead to cardiac arrest.

This article examines how heart attacks occur and the best ways to treat and stop them.

The signs of a heart attack

Since heart attacks can be life-threatening, it’s essential to detect the signs immediately and seek emergency assistance.

The symptoms can include:

  • There is a feeling of tightness, pressure, pain, squeezing, or aching in the chest.
  • Discomfort that can spread into the neck, arms, jaw, back, or arms
  • and experience heavy or crushing sensation in the chest.
  • An experience that can compare to indigestion or heartburn sensation.
  • Nausea, and occasionally vomiting, shortness of breath
  • experiencing dizziness or lightheadedness.
  • In certain instances, anxiety can be like an attack of panic, wheezing, or coughing when fluid accumulates in the lungs.

The symptoms vary according to their duration and frequency; they could last for many days or disappear suddenly.

The following are also possible to develop:

  • Hypoxemia The cause is low levels of oxygen in the blood.
  • Pulmonary edema results from the accumulation of fluid within and around the lung.
  • Cardiogenic shock results from your blood pressure falling suddenly because the heart can’t provide enough blood to all the body to function efficiently.

Males and females may suffer from heart attacks in different ways. 

Treatment

A heart attack can be life-threatening and requires immediate attention. (Trusted Source).

Today, many people can survive heart attacks due to the effectiveness of treatment. However, the delay in treatment will significantly reduce the chance of surviving.

CPR

If the person’s breathing stops When breathing stops, you can take the steps listed below. (Trusted Source):

Do chest compressions manually:

  • Make sure your fingers are joined, and then put the bottom of your hands on the middle of the chest.
  • Set your shoulders in front of your hands, lock your elbows, and press fast and hard at a rate of between 100 and 120 repetitions per minute. Press until you reach a depth of 2 inches.
  • Continue the movements until the person begins to breathe or moves until someone else can assume the role or until you’re exhausted.
  • If you can, alternate turns without stopping the compressions.

Utilize an automated external defibrillator (AED)

  • Can find AEDs in malls, shopping centers, and other places of public use.
  • AED AED gives a shock which can cause the heart to re-start.
  • Keep calm and follow the instructions. Newer AEDs will guide you through the steps.

Learn more about CPR here.

Medical treatment

If the emergency crew arrives, they’ll be able to take over the person’s care.

Provide the team with the most detailed information regarding the health condition of the person concerned and the conditions that occurred before the incident.

The team will attempt to stabilize the patient’s health by providing oxygen.

Medical staff will conduct tests within the medical facility and provide the appropriate treatments.

A variety of approaches are available. However, three common options are:

  • medication, for example, to dissolve blood clots
  • percutaneous coronary intervention is an instrument that allows for the mechanical restoration of the flow of blood to damaged tissue
  • coronary bypass grafting often referred to as a heart bypass, redirects blood to damaged regions of the arteries to increase the flow of blood

The health care team will collaborate with the patient to design a treatment program to avoid future attacks.

Complications

Some people experience complications following a heart attack. Based on the severity of the incident was, they might include:

  • Depression The condition is a common occurrence following an attack on the heart, and interacting with family members and support groups may help.
  • Heart arrhythmia: The heart has irregular rhythms, which can be too fast or slow.
  • Edema: The accumulation of fluid causes swelling of the legs and ankles.
  • Aneurysm: Scar tissue forms over the damaged heart wall, which leads to shrinkage and stretching of the heart muscle. It then forms the sac. It could also lead to blood clots.
  • Angina: Insufficient oxygen gets to the heart and causes chest discomfort.
  • Heart Failure Heart failure: The heart cannot pump as efficiently, leading to fatigue, difficulty breathing, and edema.
  • Myocardial rupture is a tear that occurs in the heart due to the damage that is due to an attack on the heart.

Regular treatment and monitoring may aid in reducing the risk of getting these issues.

Prevention

There are many methods to reduce the chance of suffering a heart attack. According to the American Heart Association, Trusted Source recommends that people make the health of their heart a top priority.

Methods to accomplish this include Trusted Sources:

  • Avoiding or cutting down or smoking cigarettes
  • eating a balanced and nutritious diet
  • getting regular exercise
  • managing diabetes and high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, and many other ailments
  • limiting alcohol intake
  • keeping an appropriate physique weight
  • Whenever you can, avoid any stress or implement ways to decrease anxiety. If you can, avoid it or practice methods to reduce

Understanding the signs of a heart attack could aid a person in getting timely treatment. In addition, it can increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Diagnosis of Heart Attack

At the hospital, doctors will ask about any symptoms. When making a diagnosis and formulating a treatment plan, the doctor will consider the following factors:

  • Age
  • general health
  • Medical background
  • Family heritage

They’ll also have to conduct tests on Trusted Sources that include:

  • imaging tests, for instance, imaging tests, such as X-rays, CT scanning, or echocardiograms
  • electrocardiography, which measures heart electrical activity
  • blood tests will confirm the fact that a heart attack may have occurred
  • The cardiac catheterization procedure allows doctors to look at the interior of the heart.

Recovery

The process of recovery can take time, dependent on the extent and severity of heart attacks and other factors, like the cause and the patient’s age.

The factors that are to consider are:

  • Cardiorehabilitation, The team of healthcare professionals will assist the patient in developing plans to improve their health and avoid another heart attack.
  • Returning to physical exercise, A medical professional can assist in developing an appropriate plan of action.
  • Resuming work: This depends on the employee’s work schedule and the extent of the heart attack.
  • Driving: A doctor will advise the best time to drive, which is different from person to person.
  • Sexual activity: Most people can return to sexual activity after about around 4-6 weeks. Medications may cause the condition of erectile dysfunction; however, treatment may help resolve this.

Many people suffer from depression in recovering from heart attacks, but support groups, counseling, and treatment can be helpful.

Causes of Heart Attack

The most frequently cited reason for heart attacks is a blockage in an artery close to the heart.

It could be due to coronary heart diseases where plaque — composed of cholesterol and other substances– is deposited in blood vessels, which narrows them. As time passes, this may hinder blood flow.

The less common causes are:

  • the abuse of drugs like cocaine causes blood vessels to shrink
  • low levels of oxygen in the blood result, for instance, in carbon monoxide poisoning.

Risk factors

As per The AHA Trusted Source note, The following risk factors increase the risk of having a heart attack:

  • older age
  • male sex
  • high levels of cholesterol
  • high blood pressure
  • Other health issues other health conditions, like diabetes or obesity
  • eating a diet rich in processed foods, added sugars, fats, and salt
  • Low activity levels
  • genetics and family history
  • smoking
  • High consumption of alcohol
  • High-stress levels

Most often, a heart attack occurs due to a mix of events.

Additionally, the AHA note states that Black Americans, Latinx Americans, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, and some Asian Americans have increased risks of having high blood pressure and heart disease death compared to their white counterparts.

People who have hypertension or previous antecedent history of coronary heart illness and heart disease are also at a higher risk of suffering from a heart attack.

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