INTRO AND PREDISPOSING FACTORS
The clinical term for heart attack is myocardial infarction. This simply means death of part of the heart muscle, which occurs as a result of insufficient supply of blood. This is ironic in the sense that the heart whose primary function is to distributed nutrient-and-oxygen-rich-blood around the body fails to deliver to itself. Heart attack is the leading cause of death in many parts of the so-called developed world.
The disease is more common with increasing age and sedentary lifestyle. It is more common in males until around the age of 60, after which gender difference doesn’t seem to factor much. Genetic tendencies are well-established, although improved healthy lifestyle could greatly diminish the chances of developing it. With regards to lifestyle, tobacco smoking, high-fat diets, lack of physical activities (like regular exercise) would enhance the chances of heart attack: even for people without any family history of the disease.
Coronary artery disease is the chief cause of heart attack. What happens here is that years of consumption of fatty diets accompanied by minimal physical activities enable cholesterol to build-up on the internal walls of the coronary arteries. As these cholesterols continue to accumulate, they gradually reduce the internal diameter of these arteries. As the arteries grew narrower with years of cholesterol deposits on their internal walls, their blood-volume capacity is greatly reduced. After several years, the now heavily congested internal walls of coronary arteries have become so narrow that blood platelets are easily trapped in them. This in turn results in the blockade of such arteries: thereby preventing enough oxygen and nutrients (in the blood) from reaching the heart muscles. As these muscles starve, they become unable to carryout their normal function; and trigger-off heart attack as they die.
One of the worse things about heart attack is that its symptoms occur suddenly without any warning. Thus, the case could easily become fatal if it happens in a place where little or no medical assistance could be obtained. The most obvious symptom is severe and subduing pain around the center of the chest. This pain often radiates to the neck region and the left arm. Breathlessness or shortness of breath may ensue. This whole dilemma could set-off anxiety and confusion. Other symptoms which may be experienced include sweating, and nausea (with or without vomiting). It is worth knowing that about 20 percent of heart attack cases occur without any chest pain. And because of this, the average first-time sufferer may not even recognize the seriousness of his or her ailment.
The complications accompanying heart attack depend on two factors. The first is the extent of muscle damage, and the second is concerned with the site of the damage: that is which particular muscles were weakened or destroyed. Depending on the seriousness of those two factors, complications could include an irregular heartbeat or a cardiac arrest. The situation following heart attack is such that extreme care and check-ups are needed, if fatality chances must be reduced. Even weeks and months after the attack, regular medical check-ups must continue so as to detect and reduce the possibility of heart failure.
The good news is that diagnosis of heart attack is often easy to achieve. Electrocardiography (ECG) is used to examine the condition of heart by evaluating its electrical activities. Abnormal readings on the ECG machine often give clues on what the problem could be. This is because the ECG machine could be used to determine the extent of muscle damage, the type of damaged muscles, and the overall rhythm of the weakened heart. But confirmatory tests usually involve biochemical analysis of blood samples: to determine the blood levels of some specific substances.
All heart attacks require urgent medical help. The priority is to restore blood supply to the heart muscles, so as to minimize further damage and/or complications. Chest pain is also attended to: in order to stabilize the patient and prevent excessive anxiety. Further treatments are given depending on other symptoms. Meanwhile, intensive care and advanced monitoring in a cardiology ward is often necessary. For this reason, I will always advise that you call an ambulance in any case of heart attack. Eat well and keep fit!
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Classical symptoms of acute myocardial infarction include sudden chest pain (typically radiating to the left arm or left side of the neck),shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, palpitations, sweating, and anxiety (often described as a sense of impending doom). Women may experience fewer typical symptoms than men, most commonly shortness of breath, weakness, a feeling of indigestion, and fatigue. Approximately one quarter of all myocardial infarctions are silent, without chest pain or other symptoms. A heart attack is a medical emergency, and people experiencing chest pain are advised to alert their emergency medical services because prompt protection with an external defibrillator ...