When the heart is unable to discharge its function of pumping blood to the different parts of the body, the phenomenon is defined as Heart Attack. The vessels or tubes that carry blood to the heart are called Coronary Vessels. When these vessels get blocked or narrowed, the blood flow to the heart is reduced. This leads to malfunctioning of the heart muscles. The lack of blood supply to the heart results in a loss of oxygen and also reduces the supply of nutrients to the muscles. This eventually causes the heart muscles to stop working; or simply put, the heart stops beating.
The heart attack symptoms vary from one person to another. The most common signs of a heart attack are:
- Chest pain often presents itself as tightness, heaviness, or as a pain or a burning feeling in the chest.
- Pain in arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach. For some people, the pain or tightness is severe while for others, it may only feel uncomfortable.
- Feeling light-headed
- Falling short of breath
- Feeling nauseous or vomiting
- High cholesterol in blood stream leading to obesity
- Cigarette smoking
- Alcohol consumption
- Blood clotting disorders
- Calcified coronary vessels
- Assess your symptoms and medical history
- Monitor your heart rate and blood pressure
- Do an electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Seek pain relief if needed and oxygen if your oxygen level is too low
There are 2 types of treatment that you may undergo:
1. Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PPCI) : This is an emergency coronary angioplasty. It involves reopening of your blocked coronary artery, thus restoring the blood supply to that part of your heart, which is starved of blood. This helps to save as much of your heart muscles as possible.
2. Thrombolysis: This treatment is also called a ‘clot buster’. This involves injecting a medicine into a vein to dissolve the blood clot and restore the blood supply to your heart. Sometimes this may be given to you in the ambulance.
In some types of heart attack people do not receive either of these two treatments because they will not benefit from them.
A heart attack always causes some permanent damage to your heart muscle. However, sooner the treatment received, the better are the chances of saving more of the heart muscles.
If a heart attack damages significant amount of your heart muscle, then this can affect the pumping action of your heart. The term used to describe this situation is heart failure. Besides, some people continue to experience angina (pain in chest) even after they have had the treatment for their heart attack. This is because there is still narrowing of one or more of their coronary arteries.
If you're over 40, you should consult a doctor online to know about your heart's health. Should it be necessary you will be advised to follow it with a checkup. This assessment can reduce the risk of you having a heart attack in the next 10 years.
A heart attack can be a frightening experience and it can take time to come to terms with what has happened. It's natural to be worried about your recovery and future.
Many people make a full recovery and within a few months they are able to return to their normal activities. However, some people may find that they are not able to do as much as they
previously could. Attending a cardiac rehabilitation course will increase your chances of getting back to being normal as quickly as possible.
So, feel the pulse of your heart’s health today to dance to a happy beat of life!