What is a heart attack?
A heart attack is defined as a myocardial infarction in which blood supply towards the heart is suddenly cut off or reduced severely and muscles die due to unavailability of oxygen. In fact, a heart attack is a symptom of coronary artery disease, so it can be silent or mild for a long time with no symptoms, or it can suddenly become severe to the point of death.
Symptoms of heart attack
Symptoms of heart attack may vary from person to person, as already said. It may be mild without symptoms or severe, depending on the heart condition. Some main symptoms are:
Chest discomfort, tightness, or pain (angina) that doesn’t go away on its own. It feels like heaviness or pressure, with a burning sensation or indigestion-like feeling. And this pain usually spreads to the left side of the arm and spreads towards the jaw, neck, and back.
Shortness of breath or difficult breathing, sudden sweating, feeling fatigued and light-headed are the other prominent symptoms of heart attack.
Other common symptoms are:
- Excessive wheezing, panic or anxiety attacks
- Nausea and vomiting
- Arrhythmia or abnormalities in heart rhythms or palpitations
- Loss of consciousness and restlessness
- Bluish lips, hands or feet
- Feeling disorientation
A heart attack could result when the heart artery gets narrowed by the fatty deposits. That may reduce blood flow towards the heart. This deposition makes the blood sticky by releasing some substances and often forms a clot in the artery, which blocks further blood flow.
Sometimes a patient doesn’t experience any symptoms, and such a condition is medically known as a “silent heart attack” or “silent ischemia.”
Diagnosis of a Heart Attack
A heart attack can become life threatening, so males older than 40 and females older than 50 should be examined at least once a year to diagnose anything unusual in the heart. Certain important diagnostic tools to confirm heart attack are:
- ECG, or electrocardiograph
- Blood tests
Treatment of heart attack
A heart attack can take a life within 4 hours after a severe attack and symptoms. So it becomes a medical emergency and doctors offer immediate treatment, which could be medicine, oxygen supply, or surgery, depending on the situation. Typically, such patients are admitted to the hospital to have their heart rhythm, blood pressure, and oxygen level closely monitored in order to assess the heart damage and save their lives.
(IV) medicines help in dissolving the blood clot so that oxygen supply can be continued. Or angioplasty can be done to remove the clot from the arteries, but in the case of large blockages, bypass surgery may become necessary. Early attention can improve survival chances.
What causes a heart attack?
Coronary heart illness is the most common cause of the narrowing due to the build-up of plaque or atherosclerosis. This plaque, which is made of cholesterol or fat and other substances, may reduce the blood flow to the heart muscles. Sometimes this plaque gets ruptured from the walls of arteries and forms a clot that hampers the oxygen supply or blood flow to the heart.
Heart attack vs. cardiac arrest
In a heart attack, blood flow towards the heart stops due to some blockage, so in this way oxygen supply is disrupted only in a particular region (heart muscles) and the patient remains conscious. While in cardiac arrest, the whole heart gets affected due to the sudden stop of heart beats or heart functions and the patient becomes unconscious. And there is no blood flow towards the brain and lungs either. But both situations require immediate medical attention.
How to prevent a heart attack?
A healthy lifestyle is essential to prevent any heart illness, including heart attack. Get heart Checkup test regularly to keep heart healthy.
Heart healthy diet
The recommended diet should be heart-healthy. which should include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low fat dairy, and good fat products like nuts and fish. And one should also limit the consumption of sugar, salt, unhealthy fat, processed foods, red meat, alcoholic beverages, and soda.
Other important measures to prevent heart attack are:
- Manage an ideal body weight.
- Prefer a physically active life: Regular moderate physical activity, including yoga, walking, swimming, etc., is very helpful in preventing heart-related diseases and obesity.
- Stop smoking and consuming tobacco.
- Consume alcohol in moderation.
- Take prescribed medicines on a regular basis and as directed.
- Manage stress and other illnesses like blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes also.
Heart attack risk factor
It is also important to know certain risk factors which are directly linked to heart diseases. And that may further increase the chance of heart attack and related diseases. These are:
- Hyperlipidemia (high levels of cholesterol)
- High blood pressure
- Aging and stress
- Alcoholism, tobacco, and smoking
- Family history or genetics of heart illness
- An unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle
Medical tests to diagnose heart health
Some of the vital tests that can be recommended for any abnormal heart condition are:
- Blood tests: Blood tests are done to analyze the damage to heart muscles during a heart attack and the cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood.
- The electrocardiogram (ECG) is used to analyze and read the electrical impulses of the heart.
- Cardiac catheterization or coronary angiogram is performed to detect the blockage.
- A stress test helps determine the proper functioning of the heart.
- An echocardiogram uses ultrasound to get a complete picture of the heart.
- A computed tomography (CT) scan is used to detect coronary artery problems.
- Heart magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to see the heart’s functions and the whole structure of the heart.
Blood tests at Redcliffe labs to restore heart health
Redcliffe Labs has diagnostic centres all over India that offer the tests to diagnose heart health, including all the blood tests to restore overall health, at an affordable price range. All the centres owned by the company offer a wide range of blood tests to detect heart-related ailments with a free sample collection facility.
For more information, contact the displayed numbers on the website www.redcliffelabs.com and book any test from the comfort of your home.
The blog content has been posted as a piece of information and awareness only. The content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not proposed and should not be taken as medical advice. Redcliffe Labs strongly recommends users to consult with their health care providers to make any medical or health-related decision.