Myocardial infarction, also commonly referred to as a heart attack, is a condition with which over 700,000 Americans are afflicted annually. As per the numbers released by the American Heart Association, a heart attack occurs almost every 35 seconds in the United States alone.
A heart attack transpires when the blood flow to the heart gets blocked. This obstruction in blood flow damages a part of the heart muscle, sometimes beyond repair. Myocardial infarction is associated with high mortality rates, which is why it is of utmost importance to get medical assistance in the event of experiencing any heart attack symptoms.
Myocardial Infarction Symptoms
Though the symptoms and their severity differ among individuals, some of the most common symptoms are pain, tension, or tightness in the chest or arms, breathlessness, cold sweats, dizziness, nausea, heartburn, and feeling fatigued.
Some of the symptoms can manifest themselves a week prior to a heart event or may appear abruptly. The more symptoms you are exhibiting, the more possible that you are having a heart attack. It is essential to take action quickly if you notice you are experiencing any of these symptoms. The problem is that many patients take too long to get medical attention as they often don’t these signs too seriously.
If you are a high-risk individual, you may already have nitroglycerin, which you should take as you are waiting for the medical care team to arrive. If you can use aspirin, this can also buy you some time due to aspirin’s blood-thinning properties, which can lower the risk of lasting damage to the heart.
Myocardial Infarction Risks
A host of risk factors are associated with an increased risk of a heart attack.
Age: Men over 45 and women over 55 are at a higher risk of a heart attack.
Smoking: Prolonged smoking of cigarettes or even being a second-hand smoker can contribute to a higher risk of a heart event.
Genetics: Individuals with a family history of heart disease and heart attack are more likely to experience a heart attack themselves.
Cholesterol: Having high LDL cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease and heart as well due to its impact on the arteries.
Obesity: Being over your ideal weight or obese increases one’s chances of developing hypertension, diabetes, as well as high cholesterol, all of which are linked to heart disease and heart attack.
Diabetes: Diabetes is closely associated with blood sugar levels (glucose), and high blood sugar also increases one’s risk of having a heart attack.
Hypertension: High blood pressure puts one at an increased risk of myocardial infarction, which is a condition closely associated with being overweight, being a smoker, having diabetes or high cholesterol.
Sedentary lifestyle: Getting little to no cardiovascular exercise has detrimental effects on the body as a whole, and needless to say also the heart.
Stress: Too much stress weakens the heart and contributes to a higher risk of heart disease and might up the risk of a heart attack.
Illicit drugs: Certain stimulants like cocaine contribute to spasms in the arteries, which can lead to a heart attack.
Treating Myocardial Infarction
The primary goal in the event of a heart attack is to reinstate blood flow to the heart as fast as possible to lessen the harm to the heart tissue and muscles. Your healthcare team may supply you with various medications in the case of a heart attack, including thrombolytics, aspirin, anticoagulants, nitroglycerin, and ACE inhibitors. Most of these medications work to improve the blood flow to the heart and lessen its tension.
Some surgical procedures as more long-term myocardial infarction treatments also exist, including coronary angioplasty and coronary artery bypass. Having a heart attack typically leads to an extended hospital stay until your medical care team ensures you have had enough of a chance to recover and are stable enough.
Featured Image: Depositphotos/© belchonockPosted on May 5, 2023