Archive For The “FAQs for Heart Diseases” Category
Around 1.2 million people in the United States get prone to heart attack every year. Some of them treat this condition immediately, while a few may delay to get it treated and thus may lead towards critical condition. Coronary heart disease, which often results in heart attacks, is one of the leading reason for death in both men as well as women in the U.S. Many more people could recover better or survive from heart attack, if they have prior knowledge about heart attack and get quick aid. Among the people who die from heart attacks, about fifty percent die before they reach the hospital and within an hour of the initial symptoms.
Heart attack is a severe form of coronary artery disease. It most commonly occurs as a result of blockage in the coronary artery. If the heart does not have enough of blood and oxygen, it will stop working, thus resulting into an heart attack. Failure of this organ occurs due to coronary heart disease (CHD), which can also be termed as coronary artery disease. In this condition, a waxy substance called plaque accumulates inside the coronary arteries reducing the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart. This plaque take years to get built up and this condition is referred as atherosclerosis. Ultimately, a section of plaque breaks open or ruptures inside an artery leading to form a blood clot on the plaque’s surface. If the clot gets enlarged, it can mostly or completely restrict the blood supply through a coronary artery. If the patient delays in treating the blockage, the section of the heart muscle fed by the artery gets damaged and begins to die. Failure in blood supply leads to heart attack and ultimately to death.
A less common cause of this medical condition is tightening of a coronary artery or severe spasm that completely restricts the blood supply through artery. Heart attack may lead to various health issues such as life threatening arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) and heart failure. In this medical condition, the heart stops pumping enough blood that is required by the body.
Some heart attacks are intense and sudden, where most people have no doubts on what’s happening. However, it initiates slowly, with mild discomfort and pain. Here are some signs that can indicate occurrence of a heart attack:
- Discomfort and pain in the chest: In many cases, a person experiences discomfort and pain in the center of the chest that continues for more that a few minutes. It goes and comes back. It gives a sense of squeezing, pain, uncomfortable pressure or fullness.
- Shortness in breath : Difficulty in breathing, with or without chest pain.
- Pain and discomfort in other body parts: This may include pain or discomfort in the back, arms, upper part of the stomach, jaw or neck.
- Other signs may involve nausea, sleep problems, cold sweat, sudden dizziness, fatigue( tiredness), lightheadedness or lack of energy.
Being aware of these indications is essential for the patient, in order to take relevant steps when one experience any one these. Quick steps can help the patient get appropriate medical attention on time, while delay in treatment may worsen the condition.
Risk Factors for Heart Attack
Risk factors are conditions that increases an individual’s prospects of getting a disease. They can also increase prospects of worsening the existing medical condition. Some risk factors of heart diseases can be controlled, while few are uncontrollable.
- High blood cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Being physically inactive
- Age above 55
- Being over weight
- Family history of heart disease
Certain risk factors such as family history and age are uncontrollable risk factors. For few women above 55, age becomes the major risk factor. Post menopause, women are more prone to develop a heart disease due to the drop in the production of estrogen in their body. Women with early menopause, either naturally or due to hysterectomy, are twice as likely to get this disease as compared to the women of the same age without menopause. Family history of heart disease again is factor that cannot be changed. If your sister or mother had a heart attack before the age of 65 or if your brother or father had one before the age of 55, you are more likely to develop this disease.
While certain risk factors are uncontrollable, it is critical to realize that you do have control over others. Regardless of your background, general health status or age, you can decrease your risk of heart disease by following a few steps. Protecting your heart can be as easy as whipping up a delicious vegetable soup, taking a brisk walk or getting the assistance you need to stay fit and healthy. You can gradually make a little modifications in your lifestyle, but making them is very essential. Either you have one or multiple risk factors, be conscious about your health and try to avoid things that increases your chances of developing complications. Having more than one risk factors is an indication to stay more aware about your health as these risk factors gang up to worsen the condition of the patient. Know your risk factors and consult your doctor to take certain steps to reduce their impact.
Get Help Quickly
Taking quick action once you experience any on these symptoms can limit damage to your heart and save your life. Treatment works best when given at the right time.
If you think you are experiencing heart attack symptoms, call your doctor right away. This is also applicable if someone else is experiencing the symptoms. Do not drive and let some one else drive you to the hospital. Call an ambulance to get quick medical attention on the way to the emergency room. You can prefer to take aspirin(if you are not allergic to it) while waiting for the ambulance, as it will ease the blood flow for sometime. Quick action and treatment with the initial symptoms can save your life.