Heart attack also known as Myocardial infarction is an injury or damage to the heart muscles. Myo is Latin for muscles, while cardial refers to anything that relates to the heart, while infarction means the death of tissues due to inadequate supply of blood.
A heart attack normally occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is obstructed mostly by buildup of cholesterol, fat, and other substances, which accumulates and forms a blockade in the coronary artery that supplies blood to the heart. The obstructed blood flow in turn destroys the heart muscle. A heart attack can be fatal.
The heart is a very delicate organ in the body and requires to be at its optimum at all times. The heart muscle needs a constant supply of oxygen filled blood to feed it. The coronary artery is responsible for transporting blood to the heart, so if you get coronary artery disease, the artery becomes too narrow and limits the flow of blood through it.
Calcium, protein, inflammatory cells and fatty matters accumulates within the artery to form plaques. Those plaques are hard on the outside and squishy on the inside. When the plaque gets hard the outer covering breaks down, this is called plaque rupture, then platelets move to that area of the artery, forming a blood clot around the plaque. If the blood clot totally blocks the artery the heart becomes oxygen malnourished.
Within a short time the weakening and death of the heart muscle occurs. This is when heart attack begins. The amount of damage is determined by the size of the region the blocked coronary artery supplies blood to and the amount of time between injury and treatment.
Another cause of heart attack, although rare is the spasm of the coronary artery. During a coronary spasm the coronary artery contracts on and off limiting the flow of oxygen rich blood to the heart muscle, it is also called ischemia. It may happen to people without a notable coronary artery disease.
Symptoms of a heart attack
Heart diseases don’t normally come with a clear warning sign, they don’t always appear to you as a severe clutch to the heart, and you falling to the ground, most of the signs come to you in a way you will never suspect it is a heart attack, some of the symptoms might not even happen in the chest area of your body, there are subtle signals that should be watched out for in case you want to detect heart attack early. This section will take you through the symptoms of a heart attack
- Nausea, heartburn, heart pain and indigestion: These are some of the symptoms of a heart attack, you can have these symptoms for other reasons too, but you should also consider heart test when you feel some of these symptoms, you might even vomit. Vomiting might be caused by something you ateor drank, but also be aware that it can also happen during a heart attack. Whenever you feel this way, get in touch with your doctor to ascertain what’s going on.
- Chest distress: Chest pain is the most usual sign of a heart problem. If you have a blocked coronary artery you will feel pain, tightness, or even pressure in your chest. This feeling of chest discomfort normally lasts more than some minutes and can happen when you are engaged in some physical activity or when you are resting. But be aware that some people, mostly women suffer heart attack without experiencing chest pain.
- Jaw and throat pain: Throat or jaw pain isn’t really a heart related disease, it may be caused by other factors like muscle pains, or cold. But if the pain spreads from the chest to the jaw and throat then it’s probably a symptom of a heart attack and you should see a doctor immediately.
- Pain on the left side of the body: Another common heart attack symptom is pain that spreads all over the left side of the body, especially to the arm, it usually starts from the chest all the way to the arms. There are people who suffered mainly arm pain that turned out to be a heart attack.
- Inconsistent heartbeat: It is a common occurrence for the heart to race when we are engaged in a physical activity, nervous or excited. Bit if your heart beats out of sync for more than a few seconds or it happens too often, you should let a doctor check of out. Sometimes it may be caused by something simpler then a heart attack, but at other times it may be caused by something called atrial fibrillation which leads to heart attack, and it needs to be treated.
- Feet, ankles, and legs are swollen: When the heart can’t pump blood fast enough as it should or as effectively, blood backs up in the vein and leads to swelling. Heart problems also make it harder for the kidney to remove sodium and excess water from the body, which in turn leads to swelling of these particular parts of the body.
- Getting tired easily: If you all of a sudden feel too exhausted after engaging in activities that normally doesn’t leave you fatigued in the past, like climbing the stairs or jogging, or lifting things maybe from the car to the kitchen, then you should see your doctor to get yourself checked out. Exhaustion and weakness for days nonstop especially in women can be a sign of a heart attack.
- Incessant coughing: You might have a cough that lasts longer than normal, it isn’t always a sign of heart failure, but if you know you’re at risk of a heart condition, you should pay more attention to the signals, especially when your cough produces some kind of pink or white mucus, this happens when the heart can’t maintain with the body’s demand, making blood to flow back into the lungs.
So it is paramount we check out all these symptoms of a heart attack to make sure we are on the safe side. If any of these symptoms is detected, it is best you see your doctor immediately to ascertain the severity of the complication, and know how to get your heart back in a good condition with numerous modern treatments now available.