Patient's Complete Guide to Heart Attack (Heart Failure/Cardiac Arrest/Myocardial Infraction)

Overview of Heart Attack (Heart Failure/Cardiac Arrest/Myocardial Infraction)

Acute myocardial infarction commonly known as heart attack is a dangerous condition. It occurs when blood supply to the heart muscles is stopped that causes tissue damage.

Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attack (Heart Failure/Cardiac Arrest/Myocardial Infraction)

Acute myocardial infarction also commonly known as heart attack/heart failure/cardiac arrest (دل کا دورہ). Heart failure/Cardiac arrest is a dangerous condition in which the blood supply to the heart muscles is stopped resulting in severe tissue damage. It happens due to the obstruction of one or more coronary arteries. A blockage can be developed due to plaque formation. Plaque is formed by the accumulation of fat, cholesterol, and cellular waste products. In some cases, upon plaque rupturing a clot is formed that blocks blood flow.

Occurrence of Myocardial Infarction/Heart Failure:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about every 40 seconds an American may have a cardiac arrest. Approximately, 12% of people who have heart failure may die from it.
In Pakistan, recorded data for heart diseases is incomplete. As per two population studies conducted in  1965 and 1973 showed that the occurrence of heart disease is between 0% and 3.7% in rural and urban areas, respectively.

Types of Heart Attack (Heart Failure/Cardiac Arrest/Myocardial Infraction)

The most common symptoms of heart failure/cardiac arrest are chest pain and shortness of breath. Some other symptoms include:

  • Pressure or stiffness in the chest
  • Vertigo (dizziness)
  • Pain in the chest, back, jaw, and other parts of the upper body that continues more than a few minutes
  • Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
  • Sweating
  • Sickness
  • Vomiting
  • Nervousness
  • Cough

Not all people having heart attacks experience the same symptoms. Chest pain is the most common symptom among both men and women. But women are more likely to suffer from:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Jaw pain
  • Upper back pain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Risk Factors of Heart Attack (Heart Failure/Cardiac Arrest/Myocardial Infraction)

Your heart is the basic part of your cardiovascular system. It consists of different types of blood vessels. Arteries are the most important type of vessel. Through arteries, oxygenated blood is supplied to all the body parts. The coronary arteries are responsible for taking oxygenated blood to your heart muscles.
When these arteries are blocked due to plaque or clot formation, the blood supply to your heart is decreased or completely stopped. This can result in cardiac arrest. Coronary arteries blockage can be caused by several factors such as:

  • Saturated Fats: Saturated fats may also involve the formation of plaque in the coronary arteries. These fats are mostly present in meat and dairy products such as beef, butter, and cheese. These fats increase the level of LDL and decrease the amount of good cholesterol in your blood.
  • Bad Cholesterol: Bad cholesterol also known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is one of the main causes of artery blockage. Cholesterol is a colourless substance that is present in most of your food items. It is also produced naturally in your body. Not all cholesterol is harmful, but LDL cholesterol sticks to the vessels and produces plaque. Plaque is a hard material that blocks blood flow in your arteries. Blood platelets build upon the clot and make it harder.
  • Trans Fat: Trans fats also known as hydrogenated fats are also involved in the clogging of arteries. Hydrogenated fats are artificially produced and usually present in processed foods. It is usually listed on food labels as hydrogenated oil.

Prevention

Some factors may increase your risk of having a myocardial infarction.

  • High Blood Pressure: Your chances of having heart failure are increased if you have high blood pressure. Normally your blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg (millimetres of mercury) according to your age. With age, your chances of developing heart problems are also increased. High blood pressure causes damage to your arteries and speeds up the buildup of plaque.
  • High Triglyceride Levels: High triglyceride levels also increase your chances of having a cardiac arrest. Triglycerides that enter your bloodstream through food are typically stored in fat cells. But some triglycerides accumulate in your arteries and contribute to the formation of plaque.
  • Diabetes and High Blood Sugar Levels: Diabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar or glucose level is increased. High blood sugar levels can cause damage to your blood vessels and eventually results in coronary artery disease. It is a serious health condition that can cause heart attacks in some people.
  • High Cholesterol Levels: High levels of cholesterol in your blood contributes to the triggering of acute myocardial infarction. You can lower your cholesterol by changing your diet or by taking specific medications such as statins as per the doctor’s prescription.
  • Obesity: Your risk of having myocardial infarction is increased if you’re overweight. Obesity is responsible for various conditions that increase the risk of heart failure such as:
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol levels
  • High triglyceride levels
  • Family History: Myocardial infarction is a genetic disease that is inherited from parents to children. Your chances of having a heart attack are increased if you have a family history of myocardial infarction.
  • Smoking: Smoking especially tobacco products increases your chances of having heart failure. Tobacco is a chemical substance that causes the thickening of the blood. This results in clot formation in arteries that carry blood to the heart resulting in heart diseases.

Some other factors that increase your risk for myocardial infarction are:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Stress
  • Use of certain illegal drugs (cocaine and amphetamines)
  • History high blood pressure during pregnancy

Diagnosis

Heartcare is necessary for a healthy life. You can adopt the following steps in your daily life to reduce the risk and prevent heart attack.

  • Abstain from Smoking: You can keep your heart healthy and upgraded by avoiding smoking cigarettes. Avoid encounters with secondhand smokers. Follow your doctor’s recommendations if you want to quit smoking.
  • Maintain Your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Levels: If you’re suffering from high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, ask your doctor for a prescription in your diet and medications or, for a referral. Get your blood pressure and cholesterol levels frequently checked upon your doctor’s recommendations.
  • Manage Diabetes: Daily exercise, a balanced diet and losing weight all help to maintain your blood sugar level. Some people may need medications to maintain their diabetes.
  • Frequent Medical Check-Up. Diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels are some of the main factors causing sudden heart failure. To avoid a heart attack get yourself checked frequently, and tested for any health issues if there is a need.
  • Workout/Moderate Exercise: Daily workout improves your heart muscles functioning after a heart attack. It also helps to prevent future cardiac problems. Do at least 1 hour of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of active aerobic activity per week.
  • Healthy Weight: Avoid gaining weight because excess weight puts pressure on your heart and contributes to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Treatment of Heart Attack (Heart Failure/Cardiac Arrest/Myocardial Infraction) | When to Consult a Doctor

Ideally, it is necessary to undergo a regular physical examination to assess risk factors that increase the chances of having a cardiac arrest.
Emergency Diagnosis: In case of an emergency, your doctor may inquire about symptoms. The doctor will check your blood pressure, pulse rate and temperature. You might be connected to a heart monitoring machine and have tests to check if you're having heart failure.

Tests to diagnose heart failure are:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG): ECG is the first test that is performed to diagnose heart failure. In this test, electrodes are put on your chest and limbs. The electrical signals from these electrodes are travelled through your heart and recorded as waves on the monitor. In case of a damaged heart, impulses are not conducted, ECG patterns show that the heart is failed or is in the process of failure.
  • Blood Tests: Emergency room doctors order blood tests to check the level of certain proteins in your blood. During heart failure, some specific enzymes are released in the blood.

The following table shows the diagnostic tests for cardiac arrest/heart attack.

Healthcare Providers

Consult with Best Doctors for Heart Attack (Heart Failure/Cardiac Arrest/Myocardial Infraction)

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Doctors to treat Heart Attack (Heart Failure/Cardiac Arrest/Myocardial Infraction) in Pakistan

Speciality for Heart Attack (Heart Failure/Cardiac Arrest/Myocardial Infraction)

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