Also referred to as an acute myocardial infarction, a heart attack is a life-threatening event that results from a sudden complete blockage in the blood vessel supplying the heart. When the heart does not receive oxygen-rich blood, this could lead to a possible damage to the muscle and its functions.
Someone in the United States experiences a heart attack every 43 seconds. Meanwhile, it claims an average of 23 lives per day in Australia. Considering the alarming statistics in many parts of the world, it is all the more important for people to be more aware of the nature of this disease and how it affects the individual. Get to know more about this life-threatening condition.
Heart attacks may not always manifest symptoms.
Among five heart attacks, one of them is silent, which means that the damage is already there yet the individual is oblivious to it. This is caused usually by a condition known as a coronary artery disease. In some less common cases, a silent heart attack may be due to a severe spasm or an abrupt contraction in the coronary artery that blocks the flow of blood to the heart. The silent heart attack most commonly occurs in diabetic patients and in individuals over 75 years of age.
Men and women may not have the same heart attack symptoms.
Heart attack symptoms may differ in men and women. Men usually experience moderate to severe pain to the chest, dizziness, nausea, and radiating pain in the chest and arms. While women can also experience nausea and shortness of breath just like men do, they particularly experience vomiting and may feel the pain in their arm, back, neck, throat, or shoulder, instead of in the chest.
Negative emotions can contribute to a heart attack.
Extreme negative emotions can put an individual at risk for a heart attack, and laughter is a great way to counter this. Maintaining a positive attitude and expressing it in laughter seems to be good for the heart. Doing so relaxes the blood vessels and expands them, increasing blood flow for up to 20%. An interesting fact: People who live all by themselves are twice as likely to experience a heart attack than those who live with roommates or a partner.
Aspirin can reduce the damage caused by a heart attack.
Once the first sign of chest pain or discomfort is felt, the individual may chew an uncoated aspirin as it helps lessen the amount of damage caused by a heart attack to the heart muscles. Meanwhile, a daily dose of aspirin can help prevent a heart attack from coming back for a second time.
An electrocardiogram (ECG) is an essential test during a heart attack.
The ECG functions by measuring the heart’s electrical activity, and it should be performed within 10 minutes from admission to the hospital. The electrocardiogram machine, with the help of ECG sensors, will measure the heart’s electrical impulses and record them into paper for proper evaluation by the doctor later on. Mainly, the ECG helps in confirming the heart attack diagnosis and determining which type of heart attack has the patient had. The results easily guide the doctor in administering the most effective treatment.
There are a number of other tests that the physician can use to assess the condition of the heart and to look out for related complications. But since heart attacks are emergency situations, these tests are usually carried out only once initial treatment has been carried out, such as the usual checking of blood pressure with an NIBP cuff.
When it comes to treating a heart attack, every second counts. Seek medical help immediately the moment you notice the first signs.