A heart attack is when something stops the flow of blood to your heart so that it does not need oxygen. More than one million Americans have a heart attack each year. Heart attack is also called myocardial infection (MI). “Mayo” means muscle, “cardinal” means heart, and “infection” means tissue death due to anemia. This tissue death can cause permanent damage to your heart muscle.
Symptoms of a heart attack
Symptoms of a heart attack include:
- Chest discomfort, pressure, heaviness, tightness, squeezing, or pain in your chest or arm or under the chest bone.
- Pain that goes to your back, jaw, throat, or arm.
- Feeling full, indigestion, or suffocation (it may feel like burning)
- Sweating, upset stomach, vomiting, or dizziness.
- Severe weakness, anxiety, fatigue, or shortness of breath.
- Fast or irregular heartbeat.
Symptoms can vary from person to person or from one heart attack to another. These symptoms of heart attack are more common in women:
- Unusual fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Dizziness or lightheartedness
- Pain in your intestines. It can feel like indigestion.
- The discomfort in the neck, shoulders, or upper back.
With some heart attacks, you will not see any symptoms (a “silent” myocardial infection). It is more common in people with diabetes.
Angina is not a condition or disease. It’s a symptom, and sometimes it can signal a heart attack. Feelings may occur with normal activity or exertion but then go away comfortably or when you take nitroglycerin.
A feeling of pressure, pain, squeezing, or fullness in the middle of the chest.
Pain or discomfort in the shoulder, arm, back, neck, or jaw.
Causes of a heart attack
Your heart muscle needs a constant supply of oxygenated blood. Your coronary arteries carry this important supply of blood to your heart. If you have coronary artery disease, those arteries become narrow, and blood cannot flow as it should. When your blood supply is cut off, you have a heart attack.
Fat, calcium, protein, and inflammatory cells form plaques in your arteries. These plaque deposits are hard on the outside and soft and musky on the inside.
When the plaque hardens, the outer shell breaks. This is called rupture. Platelets (disc-shaped substances in your blood that help it clot) enter this area, and blood clots form around the plaque. If blood clots block your arteries, your heart muscles become hungry for oxygen. Muscle cells die quickly, causing permanent damage.
Rarely, a stroke in your coronary artery can cause a heart attack. During this coronary spasm, your arteries cut off the blood supply to your heart muscle (ischemia), closing or closing the artery. This can happen when you are resting and even if you do not have serious coronary artery disease.
What do I do if I have a heart attack?
After a heart attack, you need immediate treatment to open the blocked artery and reduce the damage. For the first signs of a heart attack, Call on your emergency hospital No#. The best time to treat a heart attack is within 1 or 2 hours after the onset of symptoms. Waiting longer means your heart is more damaged and you have less chance of survival.
If you have called the emergency services and are waiting for them to arrive, chew aspirin (325 mg). Aspirin is a powerful way to prevent blood clots and can reduce the risk of dying from a heart attack by up to 25%.
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