HEART ATTACK – SYMPTOMS, TREATMENTS & PREVENTION
HEART ATTACK – SYMPTOMS, TREATMENTS & PREVENTION
A heart attack or Myocardial Infarction (MI) is a permanent damage to the heart muscles which occurs when the blood flow to the heart is blocked.” Myo” refers to muscle, “cardinal” refers to the heart, and “infarction” means the death of tissue due to the sudden lack of blood supply.
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS DURING A HEART ATTACK?
The heart which is the most important part of the circulatory system requires a constant supply of oxygen-rich blood to survive. A heart attack occurs when the blood flow to the heart is completely cut-off. This happens when the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart become narrow down due to the accumulation of fat, cholesterol and other substances that together are called plaque. This slow process is known as “atherosclerosis”. When the plaque in the heart artery breaks, a blood clot is formed around the plaque. This blood clot blocks the flow of blood to the heart muscle resulting in heart attack. During the heart attack, the heart muscle begins to suffer injury as it lacks blood supply. The degree of damage caused depends on the size of the area affected by the blocked artery and also the length of time between the injury and the treatment.
SYMPTOMS OF HEART ATTACK:
Knowing the early signs and symptoms of heart attack is very critical for the treatment. The symptoms of heart attack are not specific and vary from person to person. The patients who are more likely to suffer a heart attack are older, female and diabetic patients.
Some of the initial symptoms of heart attack include;
- discomfort or pain in the chest which usually lasts for few minutes,
- shooting pain up and down the left side of the body which eventually spreads to back, head and neck.
Other symptoms include;
- high pressure,
- shortness of breath
- abnormal heart-beat,
- Jaw pain or nausea.
Although chest pain is the hallmark symptom of heart attack, some people still experience heart attack even without suffering a chest pain. Such silent heart attacks are more serious and life-threatening than severe heart attacks. Silent heart attacks are more common among diabetic patients.
TREATMENT FOR HEART ATTACK:
Even before subjecting the patient to a proper medical treatment at the hospital by the specialist, the first aid given to the patient can reduce the risk to a greater extent. Here are some first aid tips that you can give your beloved ones to help them save their life.
If a person is having a chest pain, even if he is not experiencing a heart attack, he deserves a benefit of the doubt.
The first thing to be done is to make the patient relax. Open all the windows and let them breathe in some fresh air. Loosen their clothes and make them feel comfortable.
Next, you can pop a tablet of aspirin or Sorbitrate. Don’t give it with water instead ask them to chew it. You can give up to three Sorbitrate in five minutes. Both aspirin and Sorbitrate have the anti-coagulate property which helps dissolve blood clots. However, do not prefer these medications to those having low blood pressure or sweating profusely. Do not allow the victim to lie down. Make them sit upright or lean on the sofa. Ask the victim to cough out as this will force air into the lungs. Then take the victim to the hospital as soon as possible at least within an hour. The medical treatment options that would be suggested are:
- THROMBOLYSIS also known as thrombolytic therapy is a treatment which dissolves the clots in blood vessels, improves the flow of blood and eventually prevents damage to tissues and organs. This treatment will remove the blood clot and thus reduce the risk of heart attack.
- PRIMARY ANGIOPLASTY: This involves locating the blocked artery and opening the block with help of a balloon. The block is kept open by implanting a splint at the site of the block which regulates proper flow of the blood.
PREVENTIVE MEASURES FOR HEART ATTACK:
One has to follow certain lifestyle changes in order to prevent having a heart attack.
- Eat the healthy and balanced diet which includes more of green vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
- Avoid excess fats as it increases cholesterol which in turn increases the risk of heart attack.
- Do exercise on regular basis to stay fit and healthy. Read articles on how exercise can lower heart attack risk and other heart-related diseases
- Keep your blood pressure and sugar levels under control.
- Avoid smoking and excess of alcohol.
- Manage stress levels as that can also lead to increased blood pressure.
- Have yearly health check-ups with your physician.
- Workout on regular basis to avoid weight gain.
If you already have had a heart attack you can reduce the risk of having another by proper medication and keeping your heart healthy. Once you had a heart attack, complete recovery is possible within months. One can also attend “cardiac rehabilitation courses” that increases the chance of getting back to normal life.
With age, the risk of heart diseases also increases. Therefore it is only in the hands of the individual to have control over the diet and do regular exercises which can prevent heart attack and heart-related diseases. After all, PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!