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What is Heart Attack? Symptoms, Causes, Prevention and treatment

Heart attacks may have severe or mild symptoms. At times, a sufferer of heart attack may show no symptoms.

Heart attack can affect anyone irrespective of age and gender. Though research has proved that males are at a higher risk of suffering from heart attacks. Generally, heart attacks occur in older people but recently many young deaths due to heart attacks have been reported.

A heart attack occurs when the blood flow to the heart is reduced or blocked due to a buildup of fat, cholesterol, or other substances in the heart (coronary) arteries. These fatty, cholesterol-containing deposits are called plaques, and the process of plaque buildup is called atherosclerosis.

At times, a plaque can rupture resulting in the formation of a clot that blocks blood flow. In biological terms, a heart attack is also called a myocardial infarction. Let's know the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of heart attacks.

Heart Attack: Symptoms 

According to the doctor of Mayo Clinic, symptoms of a heart attack may differ from person to person. Some may have no symptoms or mild ones while others may experience severe ones with immense pain. Common symptoms of heart attacks are:

  • Chest pain or feelings of pressure, tightness, pain, squeezing or aching
  • Pain or discomfort spreading to the shoulder, arm, back, neck, jaw, or sometimes the upper belly
  • Cold sweat
  • Fatigue
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Anxiety
  • Coughing or wheezing

Heart Attack: Causes

According to MedicalNewsToday, the most common cause of a heart attack is a blockage in one of the arteries near the heart. Heart attacks can also be a result of coronary heart disease that over time can obstruct the flow of blood.

Other causes may be:

  • Misuse of drugs like cocaine narrows down the blood vessels obstructing normal blood flow.
  • Low oxygen levels in the blood due to poisoning by carbon monoxide

Heart Attack: Diagnosis

Your doctor may ask about your symptoms and discuss about certain factors like:

  • age
  • overall health
  • medical history
  • family history

According to the doctors of Cleveland Clinic, tests to confirm a case of heart attack include:

  • Imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans, and echocardiograms
  • ECG measures electrical activity in the heart
  • Blood tests to confirm a heart attack
  • cardiac catheterization to examine the inside of the heart

Heart Attack: Treatment 

Firstly, a person will be rushed to the hospital and the professional medical team will try to stabilize the person’s condition by providing oxygen. Other common treatment options include:

  • Medications to dissolve blood clots
  • Percutaneous coronary intervention to restore blood flow to any damaged tissue
  • Coronary artery bypass grafting or a heart bypass to diverts blood around damaged areas of the arteries to improve blood flow

Heart Attack: Prevention 

 According to Healthline, there is no confirmed way that can help prevent heart disease or heart attack for sure but leading a healthy life with a balanced diet can be helpful. Other things to follow are:

  • Quit smoking
  • Follow a balanced and healthy diet
  • Stay active
  • Manage your blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and blood pressure
  • Limit your alcohol intake
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Try avoiding stress else take steps to manage it well

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