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Heart Attack

Health    Heart Attack
Also called: MI, Myocardial infarction
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Are you suffering from Heart Attack?

Each year over a million people in the U.S. have a heart attack. About half of them die. Many people have permanent heart damage or die because they don't get help immediately. It's important to know the symptoms of a heart attack and call 9-1-1 if someone is having them. Those symptoms include

  • Chest discomfort - pressure, squeezing, or pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Discomfort in the upper body - arms, shoulder, neck, back
  • Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, lightheadedness, sweating

These symptoms can sometimes be different in women.

What exactly is a heart attack? Most heart attacks happen when a clot in the coronary artery blocks the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart. Often this leads to an irregular heartbeat - called an arrhythmia - that causes a severe decrease in the pumping function of the heart. A blockage that is not treated within a few hours causes the affected heart muscle to die.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Symptoms of Heart Attack

The following features are indicative of Heart Attack:
  • nausea
  • heartburn
  • pressure, tightness, pain, squeezing or aching sensation in the chest or arms that may spread to your neck, jaw or back
  • indigestion
  • shortness of breath
  • cold sweat
  • fatigue
  • lightheadedness
It is possible that Heart Attack shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.

Common Causes of Heart Attack

The following are the most common causes of Heart Attack:
  • atherosclerosis
  • coronary artery disease
  • a spasm of a coronary artery

Risk Factors for Heart Attack

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Heart Attack:
  • smoking
  • older age
  • long-term exposure to secondhand smoke
  • high blood cholesterol
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • stress
  • lack of physical activity
  • illegal drug use
  • history of preeclampsia

Prevention of Heart Attack

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Heart Attack. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • quit smoking
  • maintain healthy bodyweight
  • eat heart-healthy diet
  • exercise regularly

Occurrence of Heart Attack

Degree of Occurrence

The following are the number of Heart Attack cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Heart Attack most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged > 50 years

Common Gender

Heart Attack can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Heart Attack

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Heart Attack:
  • Electrocardiogram: To see electrical impulses generated by heart
  • Blood tests: To test for the presence of certain enzymes
  • Chest X-ray: To check the size of heart and its blood vessels
  • Echocardiogram: Provide video images of the heart
  • Coronary catheterization: Reveals the areas of blockage
  • Exercise stress test: To measure how the heart and blood vessels respond to exertion
  • Cardiac computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): To diagnose heart problems

Doctor for Diagnosis of Heart Attack

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Heart Attack:
  • Cardiologist

Complications of Heart Attack if Untreated

Yes, Heart Attack causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Heart Attack is left untreated:
  • heart failure
  • arrhythmias
  • heart valve problems
  • heart rupture

Procedures for Treatment of Heart Attack

The following procedures are used to treat Heart Attack:
  • Coronary angioplasty and stenting: To unblock the artery in the heart
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery: To allow blood flow to the heart to bypass the narrowed section

Self-care for Heart Attack

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Heart Attack:
  • Avoid smoking: Helps in improve your heart's health
  • Control the blood pressure and cholesterol levels: Helps in reducing the chances of heart attack
  • Get regular medical checkups: Check for the conditions such as high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes and help you manage them
  • Exercise regularly: Helps in improving heart muscle function after a heart attack
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight strains the heart and can contribute to other diseases
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet: Keeps the heart healthy
  • Manage diabetes: Keep blood sugar levels at more-desirable levels
  • Control stress: Reduce stress in your day-to-day activities

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Heart Attack

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Heart Attack:
  • Chiropractic therapy: Helps in the stress management during the treatment
  • Deep-breathing exercises and meditation: Helps in dealing with the stress

Patient Support for Treatment of Heart Attack

The following actions may help Heart Attack patients:
  • Deal with your emotions: Discuss your fear with your doctor, a family member or a friend may help
  • Support group: Effective in preventing or treating depression after a heart attack
  • Attend cardiac rehabilitation: Helps in lifestyle changes, emotional issues and a gradual return to your normal activities after a heart attack

Time for Treatment of Heart Attack

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Heart Attack to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • More than 1 year

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 11/28/2018.
This page provides information for Heart Attack.