Heart Attack – Causes and Symptoms

If a part of the heart muscle does not get enough oxygen, it dies. This is heart attack, or myocardial infarction or coronary thrombosis. When a coronary artery is blocked with a blood clot, the heart muscle does not get blood supply, and hence oxygen. An instantaneous narrowing, or spasm, of a coronary artery also blocks blood supply to the heart muscle. The main symptom of heart attack is severe chest pain. The pain can radiate to neck, jaw, ears and extremities. The skin colour changes to pale grey. Sweating also associates a heart attack.

What are the risk factors of heart attack

Narrowing of arteries is a risk factor. This takes place gradually. The deposits of fat narrow down the lumen of the arteries. This risk is aggravated by smoking, diet without nutrients, high blood pressure, obesity and lack of exercise, as these conditions encourage formation of fatty deposits.

Heart attack can be fatal if medical attention is not given immediately. In the absence of medical assistance, the affected person dies within four hours from the start of the attack.

Is heart attack always fatal

A sooner medical attention ensures a greater chance of survival. Complete recovery from heart attack is possible if immediate medical attention is given to the affected person. The recovery period may differ, depending on the severity and complications. Support of health professionals is available to the patient during the rehabilitation period.

What are the causes of heart attack

The risk factors of heart attack include older ages, smoking habit, obesity, high blood pressure, high level of cholesterol in blood, diet rich in saturated fats, diabetes, a family history of heart disease and lack of exercise. The risk can increase if you already have angina, of if you had a heart attack before, or if you had a heart surgery. Angina and heart attack have similar symptoms. However, angina may subside within twenty minutes, with rest and medication.

What are the symptoms of heart attack

The symptoms of heart attack include mild discomfort at chest, severe pain at the centre of the chest, shortness of breath, sweating, change of skin colour to pale grey, dizziness, coughs, nausea and/or vomiting, restlessness and nightmarish feeling.

The symptom of heart attack is usually severe chest pain. This pain can radiate up to extremities. The pain can travel to neck, jaw and ears. The pain is felt, at times, in the area between the shoulder blades. The pain may persist for hours together. The pain cannot be stopped with any physical movement or change in position or by taking rest. You may have a feeling of tightness, pressure, squeezing or fullness in the chest.

In some people heart attack does not cause any pain at all. This is a silent heart attack, which can occur in diabetic patients. This can affect people who are over seventy-five years.

Many cases of mild heart attacks do not come for diagnosis, as the symptoms are not severe. Every heart attack, mild or severe, damages the heart muscle. The extent of damage may differ with severity, but the damage occurs. Therefore, people who had mild heart attacks that have not been diagnosed, are prone to progressive destruction of tissues of their heart muscle.

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