Heart Attack - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

A heart attack, also known as myocardial infarction, is a condition that occurs when the blood flow to your heart is disrupted. It may occur due to blockage of the arteries due to plaque build-up. Like any other organ in your body, your heart needs oxygen to function properly, which is done by the coronary arteries. 


The coronary arteries supply oxygen to your heart, helping it work properly. In any case, if your coronary arteries are blocked, or narrowed, this causes pain in your heart due to lack of oxygen. If the treatment is delayed, a heart attack can lead to tissue scarring, hence permanent damage due to a lack of oxygen.


In this article, we will discuss the presentation, diagnosis, risk factors, and prevention of heart attack.



Understanding the normal function of the heart


Your heart has four chambers, and two sides. The left side and the right side. The right side of the heart pumps blood to your lungs to receive oxygen, while the left side of your heart receives that blood from the lungs and pumps it to the whole body. 

The heart does all this work in two phases. First, the chambers of the heart relax to fill the blood known as diastole. Then, the heart contracts to eject the blood-filled in the chambers, the phase is known as systole.


Symptoms of heart attack


The signs and symptoms of a heart attack may vary from person to person. Mostly it can show up as follows.


Chest pain that is gripping or pressuring in character. The person may feel it under their chest bone, and it might feel like someone is pressing on your chest. It is not felt as a sharp or stabbing pain. The pain may travel to your jaw, neck, and back. This is known as radiation of the pain. 


  • Nausea

  • Dizziness

  • Increased sweating

  • Difficulty in breathing

  • Fast or uneven heartbeat 

  • Indigestion- acid regurgitation 

  • Anxiety 

  • Fatigue 


Diagnosis of heart attack 


Your doctor might order the following tests to diagnose a heart attack. 

1.ECG: This is done by putting leads on your chest and checking the rhythm of your heart.


2.ETT (Exercise tolerance test): This is done by observing ECG at rest and then at physical exertion.


3.Coronary Angiography: In this procedure, a catheter is inserted through an artery in your body and the coronary arteries are checked for blockages.


4.Blood tests: Blood tests may be ordered for checking health conditions like diabetes and for checking levels of cholesterol and proteins in your body.



Risk Factors:


The following risk factors increase your chance of getting coronary artery diseases and hence heart attack.


  • Positive family history

  • Hypertension

  • Smoking 

  • High cholesterol levels in the blood

  • Sedentary lifestyle

  • Stress and anxiety

  • Obesity

  • Diabetes

  • Age (greater for men over 45 years and women over 55 years)


Prevention of heart attack


Coronary artery diseases and heart attacks can be prevented by avoiding the factors that may increase the risk of getting them. Here are some measures that can help prevent it.


  • Smoking cessation

  • Blood pressure monitoring

  • Having a diet with low cholesterol levels

  • Exercising regularly

  • Maintaining a healthy weight

  • Consuming fewer sugars and monitoring blood sugar levels for diabetes prevention

  • Taking measures to avoid mental stress


Conclusion


Heart attack, up to some extent, is a treatable and preventable medical condition. By making little lifestyle changes like being physically active, consuming a healthy diet, and visiting a doctor for proper monitoring, you can reduce the chances of coronary artery diseases and heart attack. 


If you notice the above-mentioned symptoms, and they don’t get away with rest, it is highly advisable to see your doctor on time. Timely management of these symptoms can prevent a heart attack.


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