What is a heart attack? What are the causes of a heart attack?

A heart attack occurs when there is a blockage of blood supply to the heart. The blockage occurs because of the fat and cholesterol build-up. These fatty substances are known as plaques. These plaques create a clot in the coronary arteries, blocking the blood supply. This whole process is known as atherosclerosis.
Moreover, the blood contains oxygen in it. And when this clot occurs, it stops the supply of oxygen-containing blood to the heart and eventually ruptures a heart muscle. This process where the heart lacks oxygen because of the blockage is known as Ischemia. And the rupturing of the heart muscle occurs because of Ischemia. It is known as a heart attack or myocardial infarction (MI).

Other than this, some other causes of a heart attack are not very common. These are-

  • Rare medical conditions such as narrowing of the blood vessels can be a cause of heart attack.
  • Tears in the coronary arteries can also cause heart attacks.
  • When the muscle lining of the blood vessels twitches, it can give rise to a heart attack.
  • When a person has either excess or shortage of critical minerals in the body, he might have a heart attack.
  • Embolism, or when an air bubble gets inside the coronary arteries and cannot find its way out, causes a heart attack.

What are the symptoms of a heart attack?

Here we are listing the most common symptoms of a heart attack. You must immediately go to a heart hospital if you notice any heart attack symptoms.

  • Breathlessness
  • Angina Pains: These are chest pains that can be mild to severe. You may feel heaviness and discomfort when going through these angina pains. This pain will start in your chest but slowly and gradually spread to other parts like your arms, waist, or back.
  • Sweats
  • Rapid heartbeat or heart palpitations
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach issues
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiousness
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia before the heart attack.

What is the way to diagnose a heart attack?

Heart attack is a critical condition. Therefore, the doctors treat and diagnose heart attack as an emergency case.
First, the doctors asked a few questions about the family history, lifestyle, and previous medical history. Then, if they think it can be a heart attack, they perform tests to confirm whether or not it is a heart attack.
The doctors do the following tests to determine a heart attack.

  • Electrocardiogram or ECG- This is the first test a patient with heart attack symptoms undergo. In this test, the tester attaches electrodes to the person’s chest, arms and legs. Then electrical signals pass through the heart and record the electrical signals as waves.
  • A chest X-Ray- This shows the size and state of the heart.
  • Echocardiogram or Ultrasound: It can bring moving images of the blood flowing through the heart. It determines the ruptured spot in your heart.
  • Troponin Test- This test checks for damage to the heart muscles.
  • Cardiac Catheterization is the test in which a catheter, a small tube, goes through your blood vessels. This test allows the doctors to see the plaque build-up around your heart.

What are the risk factors for a heart attack?
Several factors can determine who is at risk for heart attack-

  • Diabetic people
  • People with a high blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Age- For males, being 45 or plus. And for females being 55 or plus.
  • Use of drugs like cocaine
  • Triglycerides or a higher level of cholesterol in the body

How long does a heart attack last?

The symptoms of a heart attack may occur a long time before the actual episode comes. The real signs and pain can last for a couple of minutes, then they reduce gradually, but they may return.
You must not delay going to a heart hospital as soon as you notice the symptoms. The more you delay, the more time it will last, making the case more critical.

Treatment of a heart attack-

Drugs in the treatment of a heart attack-
If you have a heart attack, you need to take aspirin to prevent your blood from getting thick and causing clotting. Doctors also give antiplatelet drugs to eliminate the clots. To dissolve the blood clots or clot busters present in the arteries.

Inserting of stent-
Doctors insert a stent through a cathedral, a small metal tube. It goes into the artery, which is blocked. These stents have medicines that will prevent the artery from getting blocked again.

Bypass Surgery-
Surgeons perform this major surgery on patients with massive blockage in the arteries. In this particular surgery, the surgeon takes out a vein from your hand, leg, or chest, makes a bypass, and inserts that vein in the artery. This surgery restarts the flow of blood in the artery that is blocked.

Heart Transplant-
The doctors perform a heart transplant for patients whose heart is severely damaged and cannot recover. In this surgery, the surgeons change the damaged heart with another donor’s healthy heart.

How can I prevent a heart attack?

  • By eating a balanced and healthy diet.
  • No smoking, no drugs.
  • Limiting alcohol habits.
  • Checking for your blood pressure.
  • Controlling diabetes.
  • Work out and maintain your weight.
  • Reduce your alcohol consumption.
  • Manage your stress and anxiety.
  • Address your sleeping schedules and insomnia issues.

What to expect after a heart attack?

Your symptoms will ease out slowly and gradually after your treatment begins. Unfortunately, you have to stay for a while in the hospital. Your recovery speed depends on your medicine, and surgery, like bypass surgery, takes longer to recover.
But when you reach home, eat, work and exercise as directed by your doctor.

Heart attacks are not something that you can take lightly. You must check for the signs and to a good cardiologist. We at Asian Institute of Medical Sciences, Faridabad, have the most skillful, experienced, and precise surgeons. That is what makes us the best heart hospital in Faridabad. So book your appointment now, and our expert doctors will cater to all your needs.

Content Reviewed by – Asian Hospital Medical Editors