A heart attack is a condition, also known as a myocardial infarction, characterised by the hinderance of blood flow to the heart. The hinderance is most often the result of a blockage formed by the build-up of fat, cholesterol and other substances. This build-up is known as a plaque, and it can rupture and form a clot that blocks the flow of blood. This blockage could eventually result in the damage of the heart muscles, as less oxygen makes its way to them. As a consequence, further complications such as heart failure may arise.
Though heart attacks themselves may be fatal, your chances of survival are dramatically increased if you manage to get emergency medical attention. If you have a family history of heart attacks, you may want to consult a cardiologist to assess the risk of you suffering one. The physicians at Ittefaq Hospital are great options if you would like an appointment in Lahore.
The symptoms that people experience differ in severity, while some may not experience any symptoms at all. However, there are some common indicators and symptoms that one may develop. These include:
- Shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing
- Pain in the shoulders, arms, neck or abdomen
- A feeling of pressure or aching in the arms, legs, chest, jaw or back
- Cold sweats
- Acid reflux
Though the initial symptoms vary, as we mentioned above, there are some clear first signs you should watch out for. The earliest possible signal of a heart attack might be angina, or recurrent chest pain or pressure, which is caused by temporary interruption in the flow of blood. Angina is made worse by prolonged activity and is relieved by resting.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the build-up of plaque can narrow arteries and restrict blood flow (a condition known as atherosclerosis), causes most heart attacks. If the plaque ruptures and forms a clot that blocks an artery, it could result in ischemia, which is the oxygen starvation of tissues. This might be the cause of heart muscles starving and dying, resulting in heart failure.
Whether or not your heart attack is caused by a complete or partial blockage is important to diagnosing and treating you, as treatments vary accordingly.
Another less common cause of heart attacks is a spasm of the arterial walls resulting in the blockage of a coronary artery, and therefore the restriction of blood flow to the heart. Such a spasm might be caused by the use of tobacco or cocaine and can often be life-threatening.
There are some factors that may influence the build-up of plaque in the arteries, and being aware of them might help you reduce the risk of suffering from a heart attack. These factors include:
- Age: Men over the age of 45, and women over the age of 55, are more likely to suffer heart attacks.
- Tobacco consumption
- High cholesterol and triglyceride intake
- Diabetes: High blood sugar levels can increase heart attack risk.
- Family history: If relatives have suffered heart early on, then you might be at a high risk of developing the condition yourself.
- Autoimmune disorders: Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus have been linked to heart attacks.
- Preeclampsia: A history of this disorder puts you at greater risk of developing the disease.
If you are concerned that you are at high risk of suffering a heart attack, we recommend Best Cardiologist in Islamabad, for those of you that would like to consult a professional in that city.