Heart attack is the biggest killer in modern times. A heart attack causes when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a particular section of the heart muscles suddenly become blocked, and the heart can not get sufficient oxygen. Another name for a heart attack is cardiac infarction, myocardial infarction, and coronary thrombosis. Cardiovascular diseases killed 18.4 million men and women in 2012 that is 3 in every 10 deaths. Of these, 6.9 million people died of ischaemic heart disease and 7.1 million from stroke. In congestive heart failure (CHF), the heart muscles become weaker. When the heart muscles are weakened, they are less forceful in pumping the blood throughout the body. Less blood moves out of the heart.
Causes of Heart Attack
There are several reasons for heart attack. Here we have jotted down a few common reasons.
• In Most cases, the heart attacks occur as a result of coronary heart disease (CHD).
• CHD (coronary heart disease) is a serious condition in which a waxy substance called plaque builds up inside of the coronary arteries. The arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart.
• Nicotine and Carbon Monoxide (from the smoke) both put a strain on our heart by making it act faster. They also enhance the risk of blood clots. Several Other chemicals in cigarette smoke severely damage the linings of the coronary arteries, leading to furring of the arteries. If you smoke, you enhance the risk of developing heart disease by 25%.
• If you have a diet rich in saturated fat, the blood cholesterol levels will rise. This leads to enhanced probability of heart failure.
• Having poorly controlled hypertension or high blood pressure can weaken the coronary arteries, making them vulnerable to CHD. The higher our blood pressure, the greater the risks of heart attacks and CHD.
• The older one gets; the more likely one is to develop some degree of CHD. Men are more likely to have a heart failure than women.
• If you have a first-degree relative with a history of heart disease – such as heart attack, angina, and stroke, you are thrice as likely to develop similar heart problems, compared to the general population.
• The enhanced levels of blood glucose associated with type 1 diabetes can damage the coronary arteries, making them more vulnerable to coronary artery disease (CHD). It is estimated that men and women with diabetes are more likely to develop CHD than the general population.
• Being overweight or obese directly increases the risks of heart attacks and CHD.
• Lack of exercise is linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and CHD.
• Excessive alcohol consumption can cause hypertension or high blood pressure and enhanced blood cholesterol levels, thereby enhancing the chance of developing CHD.
• Scientists have found that exposure to air pollution can cause a significant rise in the chance of developing coronary artery disease and, in turn, heart attacks.
Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attack
The symptoms of heart attack are not always obvious, and they vary from man to man and according to gender. Here are some symptoms that may signal heart trouble.
The early signs of heart attack include pain in the chest. But not all the heart attacks cause chest pain, and chest pain can stem from other disorders that have nothing to do with the heart. The Heart-related severe chest pain is centered under the breastbone. The pain can also be an uncomfortable sensation of squeezing, pressure, or fullness.
It is not unusual for women to define the chest pain as a minor ache. Some women say that the pain is not bad enough even to take a Tylenol. Men and women can also experience a burning sensation in their chest, rather than pain or pressure. Sometimes men and women make the mistake that the severe pain comes from a stomach problem.
Persistent wheezing or coughing can be one of the most important heart attack signs- a result of fluid accumulation in the lungs. In many cases, people with a heart failure cough up bloody phlegm.
Heart attack can cause intense anxiety or extreme fear of death. The Heart attack survivors often talk about having experienced a sense of “impending doom.”
Heart attacks can cause loss of consciousness and lightheadedness, so can potentially dangerous heart rhythm abnormalities, commonly known as arrhythmias. An arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat; heart can beat too fast, too early, too slowly, or too irregularly. Arrhythmias are heart rhythm problems; they occur when the electrical impulses to the heart that always coordinate heartbeats are not acting properly, making the heart beat too slow/fast or inconsistently.
Among men and women, unusual fatigue can occur during a heart attack. And feeling extremely tired all the time can be a symptom of heart failure. Of course, one can also feel fatigued or tired for several other reasons. If one does not feel well and all the wind is knocked out of the sails, do not ever try to figure it out on the Internet or from a book. Wasting time is dangerous.
Nausea or lack of appetite
It is not uncommon for men and women to feel sick to the stomach or throw up during a heart attack. Abdominal swelling associated with the heart failure can interfere with the appetite.
Pain in other parts of the body
In many heart attacks, pain commences in the chest and spreads to the arms, shoulders, elbows, neck, jaw, back, or abdomen. But many times there is no chest pain, just pain in these other body portions such as one or both arms, or between the shoulders. The severe pain might come and go.
Doctors say that there is usually nothing worrisome about an occasionally skipped heartbeat. But an irregular or rapid pulse, especially when accompanied with dizziness, weakness, or shortness of breath can be evidence of a heart failure, heart attack, or an arrhythmia. Left untreated, some arrhythmias can lead to heart failure, stroke or sudden death.
Shortness of Breath
Men and women who feel winded at rest or with minimal exertion may have a pulmonary complaint such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). But breathlessness can also indicate a heart attack or heart failure.
Many times people having a heart attack do not have chest pain or pressure but feel extremely short of breath. It is like they have just run a marathon when they have not even moved. During a heart attack, the shortness of breath often accompanies extreme chest discomfort, but it can also occur before or without chest discomfort.
Breaking out in a cold sweat is the most common symptom of heart attack. Doctors say, “You might be sitting in an easy chair when all of a sudden you are sweating like you had just worked out”.
Heart attack can cause the fluid to accumulate in the body. This can cause swelling (often in the ankles; feet, legs, or abdomen) as well as sudden weight gain and many times a loss of appetite.
In the days leading up to a heart failure, as well as during one, some men and women experience unexplained, severe, weakness. Some women told that it felt like they couldn’t hold a piece of paper between their fingers.
The prevention of heart attack mainly depends on the lifestyle changes. Follow a balanced healthy diet, avoid smoking and try to keep the blood pressure at a healthy level.