Heart attack occurs due to obstruction of blood flowing to the heart. This obstruction is caused by a plaque made up of cholesterol, fat, and many other substances. This plaque is formed in the arteries that are responsible for feeding the coronary arteries of the heart. Over time, this plaque starts taking the shape of a clots and starts interrupting regular blood flow to the heart.
The persistent condition starts damaging the heart muscles, leading to excruciating chest pain and tightness of the chest.
Early Signs of Heart Attack
While most heart attacks are sudden and unmistakable, some might come on more gradually, Some of the common early warning signs include:
- Pressure or tightness in the chest (rather than pain).
- Pain in the arm, jaw, neck or back.
- Cold sweats.
- Shortness of breath.
- Unusual fatigue
What Causes Heart Attack?
The heart muscle needs a constant supply of oxygen-rich blood. Your coronary arteries give the heart critical blood supply. If you have coronary artery disease, those arteries become narrow, and blood can’t flow as well as it should. When your blood supply is blocked, you have a heart attack.
Fat, calcium, proteins, and inflammatory cells build up in your arteries to form plaques. These plaque deposits are hard on the outside and soft and mushy on the inside.
When the plaque is hard, the outer shell cracks. This is called a rupture. Platelets (disc-shaped things in your blood that help it clot) come to the area, and blood clots form around the plaque. If a blood clot blocks your artery, your heart muscle becomes starved for oxygen. The muscle cells soon die, causing permanent damage.
Rarely, a spasm in your coronary artery can also cause a heart attack. During this coronary spasm, your arteries restrict or spasm on and off, cutting off the blood supply to your heart muscle (ischemia). It can happen while you’re at rest and even if you don’t have serious coronary artery disease.
A diagnosis of a heart attack is made by a doctor after they perform a physical exam and review your medical history. Your doctor will likely conduct an electrocardiogram (ECG) to monitor your heart’s electrical activity.
They should also take a sample of your blood or perform other tests to see if there’s evidence of heart muscle damage.
Steps to Avoid a Heart Attack
Are there any ways to prevent a heart attack? Keep reading on to know more about it!
- Live a stress-free and healthy lifestyle, including exercising, yoga, and meditation.
- Quit smoking and drinking immediately to avoid any possible risk of a heart attack.
- Maintain a healthy weight and eliminate any chance of getting overweight.
- Stay positive and maintain a healthy social life. Keep meeting and interacting with new people to have a positive outlook in the future.
- Avoid taking any medications without consulting the doctors.
- Make sure you control your blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar levels.
- You can successfully avoid a heart attack by staying alert towards your body changes.
- Make sure you don’t take the signs mentioned above and symptoms lightly.
What lifestyle changes are needed after a heart attack?
To keep heart disease from getting worse and to head off another heart attack, follow your doctor’s advice. You might need to change your lifestyle, including:
- Stop smoking
- Lower your cholesterol
- Control your diabetes and blood pressure
- Follow an exercise plan
- Keep a healthy body weight
- Control stress
A heart attack is a serious medical condition. If left unattended to, it can even lead to death.