Taking care of your heart is necessary. However, you rarely think about your heart. Yet, doesn't your heart skip a beat when you are running late for a meeting or trying to catch up with a moving bus? At that moment of rush, it is hard to deny the shortness of breath caused by your heart-rapidly beating and drumming in your chest. Interestingly enough, every human action affects the heart, and the heart, in turn, impacts every human activity.
For a starter, proper medical awareness, guidance, and treatment go a long way in detecting the early symptoms of heart diseases. It is time to supercharge yourself with valuable details about the heart. For now, let's learn more about heart attacks.
What causes heart attacks?
Like other body organs and tissues, the heart needs blood to function. The coronary arteries are the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart and wrap around the heart muscles. When the blood flow through coronary arteries reduces, it slowly damages heart muscles and eventually results in a heart attack.
What are the warning signs?
Sometimes, the warning signs of a heart attack may seem like a bad case of indigestion. To identify and treat a heart attack at the right time, we must be aware of all the potential symptoms - both common and uncommon.
The common signs are:
These signs may be accompanied by:
When should I seek medical care?
Every moment matters for anyone who may be experiencing a heart attack. The sooner you receive medical care, the better it is. Call ambulance/emergency services if you experience persistent or severe chest pain, and immediately rush to the nearest hospital
What kind of tests are done to determine if I am having a heart attack?
Not everyone who experiences chest pain is having a heart attack. The doctor may run various tests to figure out what is causing your symptoms like blood tests, ECG, ECHO, Angiography etc.
What are the treatment options?
Based on the findings of your tests, any of the following may be advised-
This approach uses medicines to control heart attacks. Thrombolysis may be done to dissolve the blockage in the artery. Ideally, it should be given within one hour of heart attack (Golden hour) or within 6 hours and not given after 24 hours. However, these medications cannot be given to those with high blood pressure, prior trauma, or a history of stroke and 50% of patients may not respond to it or have side effects like internal bleeding.
This involves inserting a small catheter with a balloon into the heart (blocked coronary artery) and then inflating the balloon to widen the artery and put a stent to stop the artery from blocking again. 95% patients of with heart attacks can be saved if this procedure is done timely.
In certain circumstances, the tests may show that angioplasty stenting cannot remove blockages in some patients, and coronary artery bypass graft surgery is an alternative option, also known as ‘beating heart surgery. During the procedure, the surgeon removes a blood vessel from the leg or the chest and uses it as an alternate path for blood to flow to the heart.
What should I do next?
You can typically go home after two to five days following your treatment. The doctor will offer valuable advice regarding medications, lifestyle changes, diet, and a cardiac rehabilitation/exercise program.
Never skip any warning signals of heart conditions, whether recent or recurring. With proper medical counselling and care, you can supercharge your life.
If you experience any symptoms related to heart conditions, don't delay consulting your doctor. Receiving the proper medical treatment and care is the only way to steer clear of any related medical complications.
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