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Heart Attack: Symptoms

During a heart attack, your blood flow to the heart gets blocked. It stops the oxygen supply to the heart. If this is not restored, a heart attack occurs. It is referred to as myocardial infarction.

Usually, arteries supply blood to your heart. Fat, cholesterol and other substances can block your arteries. This can lead to a gradual decrease in blood flow. It may cause drastic damage to your heart muscles. The blockage (plaque) can give rise to a blood clot in the arteries. It may rupture and cause a life-threatening situation. 

Signs & Symptoms

The heart attack signs may differ from one person to the next. This is because people can have different levels of blockages. Plus, another thing that matters is the family history of heart disease. A few factors like these combine to present symptoms. It’s important to seek a doctor’s help in the following cases.

Chest pain

Pain in the chest is not something you should ignore. Though it can occur due to muscle strains or acid reflux too. Other reasons may include asthma, lung cancer, collapsed lungs, and pulmonary fibrosis. Chest pain can range from dull to sharp. This mainly depends upon the cause of your condition. More often, chest pain accompanies several other symptoms. They can help you out in determining the risk.

Feeling weak

Weakness can occur because of not eating enough and other reasons. However, sensing weak as a result of heart disease feels different! A heart attack might cause severe weakness, fainting, and anxiety altogether. It’s possible that you don’t experience any other symptoms at all during a heart attack. Sounds weird? It’s true! Minor heart attacks are of that kind.

Shortness of breath

Difficulty in breathing is a known symptom of a heart attack. Most people directly relate difficult breathing to heart conditions. This feeling is linked with choking-like sensations in the throat. Although it can have other reasons too. For example, asthma, coronavirus disease, and breathing diseases. Most patients report this symptom while eating or laying on the bed.

Lightheadedness

Lightheadedness is a feeling of getting faint. Your body may feel heavy or nauseous. Some people even start sweating. This can happen due to certain other reasons. These include dehydration, low blood sugar, and stroke. Being woozy is common in older adults. Plus, it’s not always a sign of a disease. It can be a result of over-stressing or working.

Other symptoms 

  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Discomfort
  • Pressure in the legs
  • Arm pain
  • Shoulder pain

Treatment Options

The treatment of heart attack depends upon a few factors. These include the seriousness of the condition, prior heart surgery, and medications. Here are some approved treatment options. 

Medicines 

  • Aspirin: It is an anti-inflammatory drug and a blood thinner. When given soon after a heart attack, Aspirin can decrease the death risk.
  • Thrombolytics: These ***** are considered an emergency treatment option for heart attacks. Common thrombolytics are anistreplase, reteplase, and kabikinase.
  • Antiplatelet agents: These ***** stop cells from clotting. Antiplatelet agents help in decreasing the heart attack risk.
  • Beta-blockers: These medicines help reduce blood pressure. Beta-blockers also manage anxiety, migraine, and tremors. 
  • Statins: Statins are ***** that lower the LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. LDL is bad cholesterol. It becomes a part of the plaque in your arteries.
  • ACE inhibitors: These medicines relax your arteries and veins. They help in lowering blood pressure.

Coronary angioplasty and stenting

When you have blocked blood vessels, your doctor may recommend angioplasty. It is a process of opening narrowed arteries. This helps in easy blood supply to the heart. They involve the insertion of a stent (short wire-mesh tube) into the artery. The stent is kept permanently to allow resistance-free blood flow. A person generally recovers in two weeks after the surgery.

Coronary artery bypass surgery

It is a major surgical procedure lasting for 3 to 6 hours. Bypass surgery helps restore normal blood flow to the heart. A surgeon does so by extracting a healthy blood vessel from your body. That could be from your leg, arm, or chest. He uses the same to unblock the arteries. 

Before taking up any treatment option, your doctor will examine your medical history. A variety of other factors also play a role. Seek emergency help in case of a heart attack.

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