Heart Attack - Often Caused by Coronary Heart Disease!

A heart attack is a serious condition that occurs because of a restriction in blood and oxygen flow to the muscle of the heart. If the blood flow to the heart muscle is restricted, it must immediately be restored in the quickest time possible or that particular section of the heart muscle will become damaged that it will begin to die.

Heart attacks are considered the leading cause of deaths among men and women in the United States. Fortunately for us though, there are some excellent treatments that are available that can treat this condition; thus prevention any further disabilities. This treatment will at the same time, prevent the lost of lives.

If diabetics or non-diabetics individuals have coronary heart disease, a condition that is brought on by the build up of a material called plaque, they can get an attack. The reason for this is due to the possibility of a rupture in an area of the arteries where the plaque material is found in large amounts.

As result of this rupture, a blood clot can form on the surface of the plaque which normally leads to a partial or complete blockage of blood and oxygen flow to the muscle of the heart. It is reported the every year, there are approximately 1.1 million attack victims in the United States alone.

Unfortunately many of these individuals do not survive theses attacks. This is simply because many of them do not receive or get the necessary help that they need for survival fast enough. The required help for an attack victim has to come within the first few sign/s of the attack or their chances of survival will be very slim.

The most common symptoms of an attack include:

  • Chest pains.
  • Pain discomfort in the upper body such as the arms, the back, the neck, jaw, and/or the stomach area.
  • Shortness of breath (this could happen during or before the individual begin to experience any chest pains).
  • Heavy sweating.
  • Light headed (this may cause an individual to pass out eventually.
  • Nausea.

As I mentioned earlier, an attack mostly occurs because of coronary heart disease but if diabetics and non-diabetics avoid or limit certain factors that are major contributors to the development of this condition, then they could in most cases avoid having health problem.

Risk factors that can be avoided or controlled include:

  • Smoking.
  • High blood pressure.
  • High blood cholesterol.
  • Your weight (obesity).
  • Your physical activities.
  • Proper diabetes management.

Although the risk factors mentioned above can be controlled, there are a few that an individual can not controlled. These include

  • Their age. For men that are over the age of 45, their chances of developing coronary heart disease will increase as well as for women who have went through menopause.
  • Family history of the disease. If an individual have a history of coronary heart disease in their family, then they stand a good chance of developing the disease as well; thus, eventually leading to a heart attack.

There are times when an individual can experience a few of the CHD symptoms together. When this happens, a condition called metabolic syndrome develops.

Diagnosis for a potential heart attack!

The diagnosis of heart attacks are based on the symptoms that is being displayed by the individual at the time of the attack, their medical history as well as the medical history of their family.

Tests involved in diagnosing a heart attack!

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG). This particular test is used to detect and record the electrical activities of the individual's heart. Any changes, not matter how small, in the electrical activities are a good indication that the individual is experiencing a heart attack.
  • Blood tests. Heart attacks cause the cells of the heart muscle to die. When this happens, the cells can rupture and release certain proteins directly into the blood stream.

    Conducting blood tests can determined the level of these proteins which can be an indication of a heart attack, if the levels are to high.

  • Coronary Angiography. This is a special x-ray exam procedure of an individual's heart and blood vessels. This procedure is carried out during the cause of the attack so that doctors can determined the location of the blockage/s in the coronary arteries.

Treatment for heart attacks!

Early treatment of any heart attack is the key in preventing or reducing any damage to the heart muscle. This is why it is so important that we are able to recognizing the early symptoms that are associated with this condition. Especially if we want the victim to survive the attack.

Once the diagnosis of an attack has been confirmed by a doctor, the necessary treatment/s to restore blood and oxygen flow to the heart muscle can begin immediately. Remember time is of the essence. These treatments will include medications along with other medical procedures.

Medications that are used in treating a heart attack include:

  • Thrombolytic medicines. This particular group of medications, are prescribed because they dissolve the blood clots found in the coronary arteries. In order for these particular medications to be effective, they have to be administered to the attack victim within an hour of their initial attack symptoms.
  • Beta Blockers. These medications are prescribed to individuals because they reduce the workload that is forced upon the heart muscle. Beta Blockers are also used to relieve an heart attack victim of chest pains and to further help in the prevention of any additional attacks.
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme. These medications are also known as ACE inhibitors. They are prescribed because they lower your blood pressure and cause a decrease in the potential strain put on your heart. These medications also reduce any further weakening of the heart muscle.
  • Anticoagulants. This group of medications are prescribed to heart attack victims because they thin out the blood; thus, preventing any potential blood clots from developing or forming in the coronary arteries.
  • Anti-platelet medicines. These are medications that include drugs such as aspirins and clopidogrel. These stop platelets (a form of blood cell) from binding together and causing blood clots to form in the arteries.

Medical procedures used in treating attack victims!

When any of the available medications mentioned above fail to prevent an individual from having an attack, the next step is for doctor/s to perform a medical procedure that will help. Medical procedures normally include the following:

  • Angioplasty. This is a non-surgical procedure that is used by doctors to open up any coronary arteries that appear to be blocked from a clot. During this procedure a small mesh tube called stent, can be inserted directly into the artery to help prevent any further blockage. Some of these mesh tubes can also be coated with a special medication that will treat the victim's condition.
  • Coronary Artery By-pass Grafting. This is a surgical procedure that involves doctors removing arteries or veins from one part of an individual's body and sewing them in place to act as a by-pass for the originally blocked arteries.

Reducing the risks of potential attacks!

Avoiding or preventing an attack, involve individuals taking the necessary steps to change their lifestyles to a more healthier one. These important changes should include:

  • Switching your diet/s to one that is low in saturated fats and cholesterol.
  • A diet that consist of plenty fruits and vegetables.
  • Reducing your weight and maintaining a safe and healthy one.
  • Becoming a non-smoker.
  • Increasing your physical activities. Exercise more frequently.
  • Properly treating your high blood pressure. Your doctor may prescribed certain medications for treating this condition so that you are able to keep it under control.
  • Properly treating your high blood cholesterol.
  • If diet and exercise fail to lower your blood cholesterol, then your doctor/s may recommend prescription drugs to treat this disorder.

  • Diabetes. Properly managing your blood glucose is the key to avoiding any complications that are normally associated with this chronic disease.

    It is unfortunate that about half the people that suffer from heart attacks, die within an hour of experiencing the first signs or before they can get to the emergency room at the hospital. However if a attack victim, is in the company of someone who can recognize any of the symptoms of a attack, then they could call the emergency services (911) right away.

    At the same time, they can render any assistance possible that may help the attack victim. Remember, by making a few lifestyle changes, diabetics and non-diabetics can live a full, active, and productive life before and after a heart attack.

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