Diseases And Treatments

Heart Attack - What It Is, Symptoms, Causes and Treatments


Heart attackare leaders in death in the world, accounting for almost 30% of deaths in Brazil. In addition, acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is the leading cause. According to Datasus, a government data control agency, 2028 deaths from cardiovascular diseases in the state of São Paulo were recorded only in August 2016.

In-hospital mortality due to acute infarction at admission is high, and the longer the time between the onset of symptoms and the final care, the longer it takes. The risk factors for heart attack are obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, stress, diabetes or previous heart attacks. Men in middle age and postmenopausal women are most affected by the problem.



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The heart attack happens when part of the heart muscle died from lack of oxygen. Muscle nutrition is made by the coronary arteries, which carry blood and nutrients to the heart. If such an artery "clogs" - which occurs when a fat plate near the inner wall of the vessel ruptures - the blood is interrupted and that area goes into suffering (causing pain) and if that flow is not restored in time, the tissue passes away. So check it out nowHeart Attack: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments:

Identifying the Infarction:The pain of AMI is an ill defined, deaf sensation that can lodge anywhere between the lower lip and the umbilical scar. Although most people feel pain in the middle of the chest, in tightening, spreading to the right arm, we often see less characteristic presentations.


I've seen people with chin pain, back pain. The characteristics of the infarction in women are much less typical, with complaints of burning or needles in the chest or even shortness of breath without pain. Any pain in these regions that remain for more than 20 minutes should be investigated and considered a serious illness, especially if associated with the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting.
  • Cold sweat.
  • Intense Weakness.
  • Palpitations.
  • Nausea.
  • indigestion.
  • heartburn.
  • abdominal pain.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Cold sweat.
  • Fatigue.
  • Sudden dizziness or dizziness.

In the presence of these sensations, it is extremely important to seek help at the nearest emergency room in at most one hour. As time passes the pain decreases, but the damage becomes more extensive and irreversible. After 12 hours of pain, the suffering muscle has already died almost completely.

Symptoms of Heart Attack Varies:Not all people who have heart attacks have the same symptoms or have the same severity of symptoms. Some people have mild pain; Others have more severe pain. Some people have no symptoms, while for others, the first sign may be sudden cardiac arrest. However, the more signs and symptoms you have, the greater the likelihood of having a heart attack.


Some heart attacks strike suddenly, but many people have warning signs and symptoms hours, days or weeks in advance. The first warning may be recurrent chest pain (angina) that is triggered by stress and relieved by rest. Angina is caused by a temporary decrease in blood flow to the heart.

A heart attack differs from a condition in which your heart suddenly stops (sudden cardiac arrest, which occurs when a heart attack electrical disturbance stops the pumping action of the heart and causes the blood to stop flowing to the rest of your body). A heart attack can cause cardiac arrest, but it is not the only cause.

When to Contact a Physician:Act immediately. Some people wait a long time because they do not recognize the important signs and symptoms. Please follow these steps:

  • Call for emergency medical help. If you suspect you are having a heart attack, do not hesitate. Immediately call 911 or the local emergency number. If you do not have access to emergency medical services, have someone drive you to the nearest hospital.

Drive only if there are no other options. Because your condition can worsen, driving itself puts you and others at risk.

  • Take nitroglycerin if prescribed by a doctor. Take it as instructed while waiting for emergency help.
  • Take aspirin if recommended. Taking aspirin during a heart attack can reduce heart damage by helping to keep your blood from clotting.

Aspirin may interact with other medications, however, so do not take aspirin unless your doctor or emergency medical personnel recommend it. Do not delay calling 911 to take aspirin. Call for emergency help first.


What to Do If You See Someone with a Heart Attack:If you find someone who is unconscious, first call for emergency medical help. Then start CPR to keep blood flowing. Push hard and fast on the person's chest - about 100 compressions per minute. It is not necessary to check the person's airways or deliver rescue breaths unless you have been trained in CPR.

Causes:A heart attack occurs when one or more of your coronary arteries becomes blocked. Over time, a coronary artery may narrow from the accumulation of various substances, including cholesterol (atherosclerosis). This condition, known as coronary artery disease, causes most heart attacks.



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During a heart attack, one of these plaques can break down and spill cholesterol and other substances into the bloodstream. A blood clot forms at the site of rupture. If large enough, the clot can completely block the flow of blood through the coronary artery.


Another cause of a heart attack is a spasm of a coronary artery that shuts off blood flow to part of the heart muscle. The use of tobacco and illicit drugs, such as cocaine, can cause a potentially fatal spasm. A heart attack can also occur due to a tear in the heart artery (spontaneous coronary artery dissection).

Risk factors:Certain factors contribute to the unwanted accumulation of fatty deposits (atherosclerosis) that narrows the arteries throughout the body. You can improve or eliminate many of these risk factors to reduce your chances of having a first or subsequent heart attack. Risk factors for heart attack include:

  • Age:Men age 45 and older and women 55 years of age or older are more likely to have a heart attack than younger men and women.
  • Tobacco:Smoking and long-term exposure to secondhand smoke increase the risk of a heart attack.
  • High blood pressure:Over time, high blood pressure can damage the arteries that feed your heart, speeding up atherosclerosis. High blood pressure that occurs with obesity, smoking, high cholesterol or diabetes increases the risk even more.
  • High blood cholesterol or triglycerides:A high level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) is more likely to narrow arteries. A high level of triglycerides, a type of blood fat related to your diet, also increases the risk of heart attack. However, a high level of high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol) decreases the risk of heart attack.
  • Diabetes:Insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas, allows your body to use glucose, a form of sugar. Having diabetes - not producing enough insulin or not responding properly to insulin - causes your body's blood sugar levels to rise. Diabetes, especially uncontrolled, increases the risk of a heart attack.
  • Family history of heart attack:If your siblings, parents, or grandparents had early heart attacks (for 55 years for male relatives and 65 for female relatives), you may be at increased risk.
  • Lack of physical activity:An inactive lifestyle contributes to high blood cholesterol levels and obesity. People who receive regular aerobic exercise have better cardiovascular fitness, which lowers the overall risk of heart attack. Exercise is also beneficial in reducing high blood pressure.
  • Obesity:Obesity is associated with high levels of blood cholesterol, high triglyceride levels, high blood pressure and diabetes. Losing only 10 percent of your body weight can lower that risk, though.
  • Stress:You can respond to stress in ways that may increase the risk of a heart attack.
  • Use of illegal drugs:Using stimulant drugs, such as cocaine or amphetamines, can trigger a spasm of your coronary arteries that can cause a heart attack.
  • A history of pre-eclampsia:This condition causes high blood pressure during pregnancy and increases the life risk of heart disease.
  • The history of an autoimmune condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus:Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other autoimmune conditions may increase the risk of having a heart attack.

Complications:Complications are often related to the damage done to your heart during an attack. Damage can lead to:

  • Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias):Electrical "short circuits" can develop, resulting in abnormal rhythms of the heart, some of which can be severe, even fatal.
  • Cardiac insufficiency:An attack can damage both heart tissue that the remaining heart muscle can not properly pump the blood out of your heart. Heart failure may be temporary, or it may be a chronic condition resulting from extensive and permanent damage to your heart.
  • Heart Break:Areas of heart muscle weakened by a heart attack can rupture, leaving a hole in part of the heart. This rupture is often fatal.
  • Valve Problems:Heart valves damaged during a heart attack can develop serious leakage problems.

Preparation for your Inquiry:A heart attack is usually diagnosed in an emergency setting. However, if you are concerned about your risk of heart attack, consult your doctor to check your risk factors and talk about prevention. If your risk is high, you may be referred to a cardiologist (cardiologist). Here is some information to help you prepare for your appointment. What can you do:

  • Be aware of pre-nomination restrictions:When you make the appointment, ask if there is anything you need to do in advance, how to restrict your diet. For a cholesterol test, for example, you may need to fast beforehand.
  • Write down your symptoms:Write down your symptoms, including any that appear unrelated to coronary artery disease.
  • Write down the main information:Write down the main personal information, including family history of heart disease, accident cerebral vascular disease, hypertension or diabetes, and recent major stresses or recent changes of life.
  • Make a list of medications:Make a list of the medications, vitamins and supplements you are taking.
  • Take someone if possible. Someone who accompanies you may remember something you lose or forget.
  • Be prepared to discuss your diet and exercise habits.If you do not follow a diet or exercise routine, be prepared to talk to your doctor about the challenges you may face in order to get started.

Write Questions to Ask Your Doctor:Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time with your doctor. Some basic questions to ask your doctor about heart attack prevention include:

  • What tests do I need to determine my current heart health?
  • What foods should I eat or avoid?
  • What is the appropriate level of physical activity?
  • How often should I be screened for heart disease?
  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed materials that I may have?
  • What sites do you recommend?
  • Do not hesitate to ask other questions, too.

What to Expect from Your Doctor:Your doctor will likely ask you a number of questions, including:

  • Have you ever had symptoms of heart disease, such as chest pain or shortness of breath? If so, when did they start?
  • Do these symptoms persist or come and go?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, does it seem to improve your symptoms? If you have chest pain, does it improve with rest?
  • What, if anything, worsens your symptoms? If you have chest pain, does poignant activity make it worse?
  • Do you have a family history of heart disease or heart attacks?
  • Have you been diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol?

What You Can Do While This Is:It is never too early to make healthy lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, eating healthy foods, and becoming more physically active. These are primary lines of defense against having a heart attack.

Treatments:Heart, attack, treatment, hospital: With every minute that passes after a heart attack, more cardiac tissue loses oxygen and deteriorates or dies. The main way to prevent heart damage is to restore blood flow quickly.

Medicines:Medications given to treat a heart attack include:

  • Aspirin: The 911 operator can instruct you to take aspirin, or emergency medical personnel can give you aspirin right away. Aspirin reduces blood clotting, thereby helping to maintain blood flow through a narrowed artery.
  • Thrombolytics: These medicines, also called clotbusters, help dissolve a blood clot that is blocking the flow of blood to your heart. The earlier you get a thrombolytic drug after a heart attack, the greater the chance of you surviving and with less heart damage.
  • Antiplatelet agents:Emergency doctors may give you other drugs to help prevent new clots and keep existing clots from getting bigger. These include medications, such as clopidogrel (Plavix) and others, called platelet aggregation inhibitors.
  • Other Blood-Diluting Drugs:You will likely receive other medications, such as heparin, to make your blood less "sticky" and less likely to form clots. Heparin is given intravenously or by injection under the skin.
  • Analgesics:You may be given an analgesic, such as morphine, to relieve your discomfort.
  • Nitroglycerin:This medicine, used to treat chest pain (angina), may help improve blood flow to the heart by widening (dilating) blood vessels.
  • Beta-Blockers:These medicines help relax the heart muscle, slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure, making heart work easier. Beta-blockers can limit the amount of heart muscle damage and prevent future heart attacks.
  • ACE inhibitors:These medicines lower blood pressure and reduce stress on the heart.

Procedures Cand Other:In addition to medications, you may have one of the following procedures to treat your heart attack:

Coronary Angioplasty and Stenting:Doctors insert a long, thin tube (catheter) that is passed through an artery, usually in the leg or groin, to an artery blocked in your heart. If you have had a heart attack, this is usually done right after a cardiac catheterization, a procedure used to locate blocks.

This catheter is equipped with a special balloon that, once in position, is briefly inflated to open a blocked coronary artery. A metal mesh stent can be inserted into the artery to keep it open in the long term, restoring blood flow to the heart. Depending on your condition, your doctor may choose to place a stent coated with a slow-release medicine to help keep your artery open.

Myocardial Revascularization Surgery:In some cases, doctors can perform emergency bypass surgery at the time of a heart attack. If possible, your doctor may suggest that you have a bypass surgery after your heart has had time - about three to seven days - to recover from your heart attack.



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Surgery bypass involves sewing veins or arteries in place in addition to a blocked or narrowed coronary artery, allowing blood flow to the heart to bypass the narrowed section. Once the blood flow to your heart is restored and your condition is stable, you are likely to remain in the hospital for several days.