Heart attack is a condition of the heart that occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of heart muscle suddenly becomes blocked. If the flow of blood isn’t restored quickly, that section of the heart muscle begins to die. The common causes of the blockade are blood clot and plaque build-up in the coronary artery of the heart. Heart attack can lead to arrhythmias (irregular rhythm of heart beat), heart failure (a condition in which the heart fails to pump enough blood to the body parts) and Sudden Cardiac Arrest (a condition in which the heart suddenly stops working entirely).
About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year—that is 1 in every 4 deaths. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Early detection and treatment are important for heart attacks. The chances of survival are greater when emergency treatment begins quickly.
Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack
Major warning signs and symptoms include:
** Chest pain or discomfort. This usually lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. It can feel like pressure, squeezing or sense of fullness in the chest cavity.
** Shortness of breath.
** Light-headedness or sudden dizziness.
Risk Factors For Heart Attack
Risk factors one can’t control include:
** Age. The risk of heart attack increases for men after 45 and for women after 55.
** Family history of early heart disease—if a male had developed a heart disease before 55, or a female, before 65 in the family.
** Preeclampsia: This is a condition in pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure and excess protein in urine.
Risk factors under ones control are mainly linked to lifestyle choices, and these include:
** High blood sugar (Diabetes mellitus).
** High blood cholesterol (Hypercholesterolemia).
** High blood pressure.
** Overweight and obesity.
** Unhealthy diet (e.g. diet high in saturated fat, Trans fat, cholesterol and sodium (salt)).
** Lack of physical activity. Thus a sedentary lifestyle increases one’s risk of heart disease.
** Excessive alcohol use and smoking.
A less common cause of heart attack is a severe spasm (tightening) of the coronary artery. A spasm may be related to emotional stress or pain, exposure to extreme cold, cigarette smoking, or certain drugs like cocaine.
Treatment and Management
Early treatment is crucial to the survival of the patient. One must report immediately if he or she notices the warning signs and symptoms, especially if he or she is at risk of developing a heart disease. Over-the-counter drugs are not advisable. One must promptly see his or her family physician to begin treatment quickly. The condition can be well managed if one heeds the medical advice of his or her physician.
** Make good health and fitness your priority if you desire to live long enough to fulfil your God-given assignment on Earth. Make lifestyle modifications if necessary to maintain a healthy heart. Begin right away. Why should you die before your time?
CDC – Heart Disease Facts.http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm
Heart Disease and Health Center.Heart Attacks and Heart Disease.http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/heart-disease-heart-attacks
MedicineNet.12 Heart Attack Symptoms and Early Warning Signs.http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_attack_symptoms_and_early_warning_signs/article.htm
National Institute of Health. What is a Heart Attack? http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/heartattack