Preeti recently went through a shock when she thought that her mother was having a heart attack. Thankfully, it turned out to be a gastric abnormality at that time but since then Preeti has been worried that if anybody close to her did ever have a heart attack, then she might not be able to do anything.
She hates feeling that powerless and if you are anything like Preeti, then you would completely agree with her. And the only way to remedy this situation is to learn more about heart attacks. We’ll help you with that today.
The Meaning of a Heart Attack
A heart attack happens when anything blocks the blood flow to the heart. Because of this, the heart is unable to get the oxygen that it needs. Millions of people have heart attacks every single year.
Heart attacks are also known as myocardial infarctions (MI). In this term, ‘myo’ means muscle, ‘cardial’ refers to the heart, and ‘infarction’ means the death of a tissue caused due to lack of blood supply. Some common symptoms of a heart attack are:
- Fast or uneven heartbeat
- Discomfort that travels to your back, jaw, throat, or arm
- Choking feeling
- Upset stomach
- Severe weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Angina, which refers to the sensations that signal a heart attack. This sensation might occur with normal activity and go away when you rest
- Fullness in the center of the chest
- Squeezing sensation in the chest
If you feel any of these symptoms, then it is vital to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
The Causes of Heart Attack
Preeti believes that prevention is better than cure. She wants to adopt an active lifestyle that is focused on picking up healthy habits and decreasing the chances of any heart attacks. However, before she can do that, she needs to understand the causes of heart attacks.
A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to the heart is blocked. This blockage occurs due to the buildup of plaques, which, in turn, are built from fat, calcium, proteins, and inflammatory cells.
The outer shell of the plaque is hard and when it cracks, then it is known as a rupture. Platelets come to that area and blood clots are formed. If a blood clot blocks the artery, then the heart muscle becomes starved for oxygen. The muscle cells soon die and cause permanent damage.
It is very rare for a spasm in the coronary artery to result in a heart attack. But it can happen even when one is at rest and doesn’t suffer from any serious coronary artery condition. It should be noted that the heart muscle soon starts to heal after a heart attack. This can take about 8 weeks. However, a scar will form in the damaged area. This means that the heart won’t be able to move as it did before the heart attack.
What to Do If Someone Has a Heart Attack?
If you are ever caught in a situation like Preeti where you think that someone is having a heart attack, then the first thing you need to do is call for medical services. At the same time, you should start CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) if the person is going into cardiac arrest, which refers to the scenario when the heart has stopped beating and the person is not responding.
It should be noted that CPR does not start the heart but it keeps the person alive until professional medical help arrives at the spot. Apart from that, an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) is available at many public places and can be used to treat cardiac arrest.
AED is a simple device that works by shocking the heart back into a normal rhythm. AED should only be used on someone who is unconscious. It should not be used on an individual who is conscious.
Heart Attack Remedies
A heart attack is a type of medical emergency that needs immediate medical attention to prevent death or heart damage. This is why the first thing anybody needs to do is call for professional medical assistance.
There are also several drugs that are used during a heart attack. Some of these drugs are:
- Aspirin to stop blood clotting
- Antiplatelet drugs like clopidogrel, prasugrel, and ticagrelor to stop clotting
- Clot busters to dissolve the blood clots
- Other drugs that can be given during or after a heart attack to help the heart work better
Apart from all these medications, other treatment options for a heart attack are cardiac catheterization, balloon angioplasty, stent placement, and bypass surgery.
Tips for Preventing the Occurrence of Heart Attacks
Till now, we have looked at some remedies for heart attacks. Now, let’s move on to talk about what can be done to prevent heart attacks. Some of these tips are:
- Take all recommended medications as directed
- Make healthy lifestyle changes
- Go for regular heart health checkups
- Consider a cardiac rehabilitation program, if necessary
- Stop smoking as it dramatically raises your risk of suffering from heart attacks and strokes
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Follow a regular exercise plan. Your aim should be to exercise for 30 minutes a day for at least 5 days a week
- Eat a heart-healthy diet that consists of fruits, veggies, beans, lean meats, and poultry without skin
- Consume nuts and seeds like avocados, olive oil, and flaxseeds
- Cut back on unhealthy food items like butter, fried food, palm out, and fatty beef
- Avoid weight gain by saying no to the consumption of sugary drinks like fruit punch and sodas
- Limit the consumption of alcohol
- Get regular medical checkups of your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels
- Try to control the level of stress that you experience
Above all this, one should pay attention to their symptoms. Know when you or someone else might be suffering from a heart attack and what can be done to keep everybody safe just like Preeti did today.