What is a heart attack?


A heart attack is a condition that occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood suddenly inhibited to the heart muscle, so the heart does not get oxygen. If blood flow is not restored quickly, part of the heart muscle will begin to die. Heart attacks, also known as a myocardial infarction is the emergency incident that can be fatal if not treated immediately.

How general a heart attack?

Heart attacks are very common and become one of the many causes of death for both men and women. Women over age 55 and men over age 45 were exposed to higher risk of heart attack.

What are the signs and symptoms of a heart attack?

Chest pain feels like underneath heavy objects (from moderate to severe) is the most common symptom. The pain can also occur in the jaw, shoulder or arm (especially the left arm). The pain is often described as heavy, kneaded, or depressed. Other symptoms include:

  • Sweating 
  • Short of breath 
  • The pressure of the heart that fast or irregular 
  • Nausea 
  • Digestive disorders 

Women and people with diabetes may have different symptoms than men like short breaths are not accompanied by pain.

There are some signs or symptoms that are not listed above. If you have concerns about these symptoms, please consult your doctor.

When should I see a doctor?

You need to contact an emergency or go to the nearest hospital immediately if symptoms of a heart attack (myocardial infarction) started to happen. Regular visits to the doctor should also be done to check your condition and the risk of a heart attack. Ask a doctor about these symptoms if your heart feels pain when breathing, swelling in the legs, or difficulty breathing while lying down.

What causes a heart attack?

Heart attacks can be caused by coronary heart disease. This condition occurs when a waxy substance called plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. The arteries which distribute oxygen-rich blood to the heart. When plaque builds up in the arteries over the years, this condition is called also with atherosclerosis. In the end, the plaque itself can be broken (open) in the arteries and lead to the formation of blood clots on the surface of the plaque.

Another cause of the occurrence of heart attacks but less common is terrific space (narrowing) in the coronary artery that cuts the flow of blood. Spasme can occur in the coronary arteries that are not affected by atherosclerosis. This condition usually occurs because of the use of cigarettes or illegal drugs such as cocaine.

In addition, a heart attack can also occur due to a tear in the heart's Arteries (coronary artery cuts spontaneously)

What may increase the risk of a heart attack?

Certain factors can increase the risk of developing cells causes heart attacks. 
  • Men aged 45 years and over and women aged 55 years and over more risky had a heart attack compared to a younger age 
  • Smoke 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Levels of cholesterol or high triglycerides 
  • Hereditary factors. The risk is higher if the father or siblings of your men diagnosed with heart disease before age 55 years, or if the mother or siblings of the woman you are diagnosed with heart disease before age 65 years 
  • Lack of activity 
  • Obesity 
  • Stress 
Does not have a risk factor does not mean you cannot be had a heart attack. These factors are the only reference, you need to see a doctor for more information.

What are my treatment options for a heart attack?

The goal of treatment is to save the heart muscle as much as possible. The choice of treatment depends on how long since the heart attack began and the availability of specific procedures in Your hospital. To save the heart muscle as much as possible, the drugs will be given to improve the circulation and break down the blood clot in the arteries.

In addition, the doctor may use a procedure called Coronary Angioplasty. In this procedure, doctors insert a long thin pipe (catheter) into an artery that is usually in the legs or thighs leading up to the heart to observe all of the coronary arteries. A catheter equipped with a special balloon is designed to open up blocked arteries. Afterward, the metal mesh can be inserted into the artery for a long period of time. Drugs can also be used to prevent the blockage of at another time.

The doctor may recommend that you use other medications to reduce the pain and blood pressure, while the oxygen will help your breathing. Other drugs such as aspirin and cholesterol-lowering (statins) may be recommended.

What are the usual tests for a heart attack?

Your doctor will diagnose a heart attack based on signs and symptoms, your medical history and family, and the results of the examination. Examination of the diagnosis the doctor can use including:

ECG (Electrocardiogram): ECG may show signs of heart damage caused by coronary heart problems, as well as signs of a heart attack that has or is going on.

Examination of blood: in the event of a heart attack, heart muscle cells die and removing the protein into the bloodstream. Examination of blood can measure the amount of protein in the bloodstream. The amount is higher than the normal estimated as a heart attack.

Coronary Angiography: the doctor will insert a thin and flexible pipe (catheter) into the blood vessels in the upper thigh, arm, or neck. The pipe is then directed to the coronary arteries which then releases the dye into the bloodstream. Special x-rays are taken when the dye flows through coronary arteries. Staining helps doctors study blood flow through the heart and blood vessels so that the blockage can be found.

What are the changes in lifestyle or home-based treatment that can be done to overcome a heart attack?

Lifestyle and care at home may help you overcome a heart attack:

  • Emergency contact and go to the hospital as soon as possible if you find symptoms of a heart attack 
  • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure 
  • Avoid smoking 
  • Do health checks on a regular basis 
  • Consumption of drugs as recommended by 
  • The healthy diet for your heart such as reducing salt and avoid foods with high cholesterol 
  • Blood sugar control 
  • Control stress 
  • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages in excess 
  • Keep a healthy weight 
  • Exercise regularly if doctors allow 

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