A heart attack occurs when something prevents your heart from receiving the oxygen it requires as a result of a blockage in the blood supply. The heart rate may increase during its occurrence.
A lack of blood flow to the heart can result in significant heart muscle injury and even death. A blockage in a nearby artery is frequently the source of the problem. However, a temporary blockage results in a mini heart attack.
Heart attack is characterized by discomfort in the chest and other parts of the body, as well as other signs and symptoms of the condition.
Early detection and treatment of heart attacks are critical, and they have the potential to save a person’s life.
It is important to distinguish between a heart attack and cardiac arrest that occurs when the heart stops beating entirely. These are medical emergencies, with a heart attack having the potential to result in cardiac arrest if left untreated.
In order for our cardiac muscle to function properly, it requires a continuous supply of oxygen-rich blood to be delivered to it. Your coronary arteries are in charge of delivering this life-sustaining blood supply to your heart muscle. Heart disease occurs when the blood vessels in the heart narrow, making it more difficult for the blood to flow as freely as it should.
Plaques form in your arteries because of an accumulation of proteins, fat, calcium, and inflammatory cells in the bloodstream. Blood clots surround the plaque as platelets arrive and bind with one another, creating a protective barrier. Heart failure occurs when a blood clot prevents enough oxygen from reaching your heart muscle. Muscle cells die quickly, causing long-term damage to the muscle.
In rare cases, a spasm in your coronary artery can result in the onset of a heart attack in your body. The coronary spasm occurs when your arteries narrow or spasms repeatedly, preventing blood from flowing to your heart muscle and resulting in its failure to function (ischemia). A heart attack can occur while you are sleeping, regardless of whether you have significant coronary artery disease.
Each artery is in charge of transporting blood to a specific part of the heart muscle, and they are all connected. When a blocked artery causes muscle damage, the area size and the amount of time elapsed between the attack and treatment are taken into consideration.
As a result of a heart attack, the heart’s ability to pump becomes significantly reduced.
The following are the indications and symptoms of a heart attack among men and women:
- You may experience squeezing, discomfort, tightness, heaviness, pressure, or sharp pain in your chest, arm, or just below your sternum.
- Bloating, indigestion, or a choking sensation
- Sweating, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.
- Back, jaw, and arm pain.
- Exhaustion is characterized by symptoms such as shortness of breath, extreme weakness, worry, or drowsiness.
- A heartbeat that is abnormally fast or erratic
The heart attack symptoms differ from person to person and from one heart attack to the next, according to the American Heart Association. Women are somewhat more likely than men to experience the following signs and symptoms of a heart attack:
- Tiredness that has no apparent cause
- Difficulties in taking a breath
- Vomiting or nausea
- Feeling of dizziness or lightheadedness
- Headache, stiffness in the neck, shoulders, and upper back
It is possible that you will not notice any early sign of a heart attack in certain circumstances (a silent myocardial infarction). Patients who have diabetes are more likely to be affected by this condition.
Your doctor may recommend one or more of the tests listed below:
- ECG: for heart attack diagnosis, an electrocardiogram (ECG) is performed, which is a simple test that examines the electrical activity of the heart. It can tell how much and where the muscle of the heart has been damaged, as well as how severe the damage is. With this device, you can also keep track of your heart rate and rhythm, which is very useful.
- Blood tests: Many blood tests, which are typically performed in 4 to 8 hour intervals, can aid in the diagnosis of a heart attack as well the detection of any ongoing cardiac damage that may be present. If you have heart muscle damage, it is possible that different levels of cardiac enzymes in your blood are indicative of the condition. Most of the time, these enzymes can be found within the heart’s cells themselves. When these cells are damaged, the contents of the cells which may include enzymes, are released into the bloodstream, resulting in an infection. It is possible that your doctor will use the levels of these enzymes to help determine the severity of your heart attack as well as the time when it began. Additionally, troponin levels can be determined by means other than using assays. Transcription factor troponins are produced by injured cardiac cells in response to a lack of blood supply to the heart.
- Echocardiography: This ultrasound examination is used to create images of your heart. It determines how well your heart is pumping and which parts of your heart aren’t pumping.
After the incident, medications are administered in an emergency facility or hospital to prevent further blood clotting in the heart and to relieve the strain on the heart. The goals of blood thinning drug therapy include the dissolution or prevention of blood clots, the prevention of platelets adhering to plaque, stabilization of plaque, and the prevention of further ischemia from occurring.
Following medications are used:
- Antiplatelet medications to prevent clotting
- Thrombolytic therapy to dissolve blood clots
Other treatment options include bypass surgery and stent placement.
It is important to control blood pressure and cholesterol levels to prevent heart attack.
When To See A Doctor
When you notice any of the heart attack warning symptoms (fatigue, shortness of breath, and upper-body pain) immediately see your doctor. It is critical not to ignore symptoms and allow them to progress to a more serious stage.
This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have concerns about heart attack or any other medical condition, please see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment suggestions.