Article by John Parks
What is a Heart Attack?
When the flow of blood to the heart is obstructed, a heart attack occurs. If the blood flow is not restored quickly, lack of oxygen can cause damage to that part of the heart muscle and it can begin to die. Therefore, if you think you or someone else is having a heart attack, get help immediately. Treatment for a heart attack has a better chance of minimizing damage to the heart if it is given within one hour of the first symptoms.
People who have heart attacks most likely suffer from coronary artery disease which is brought about by the build up of fatty material known as plaque inside he coronary arteries. These arteries supply the heart with blood and oxygen. This buildup can take many years to occur. When a heart attack happens, some of this build up splits off and causes a clot. A big enough clot can partially or entirely prevent blood from getting to the heart muscle.
After having a heart attack, other problems can develop that include irregular heartbeats and even heart failure. Both of these conditions can cause death.
The heart muscle can heal and healing normally begins soon after the heart attack is over. Generally, it takes about two months. The heart attack created a wound on the heart, and as it heals, a scar forms. Unfortunately, this scar tissue does not function as well as muscle tissue of a healthy heart. The ability of the heart to pump efficiently is decreased and that decrease in pumping is directly related to the size of the scar.
What are the Risk Factors? (Who is at Risk?)
There are a lot of risk factors for heart attacks. Some are out of your hands, but there are others that you can control. The risk factors that you can’t control are:
1. Getting Older – About 83 percent of deaths from coronary heart disease occur in people over 65. Women over 65 who have heart attacks are less likely to recover than men.
2. Gender – Men are at much greater risk for heart attacks and they are more likely to have them earlier in life.
3. Heredity (and Race) – Children who have one or more parent with heart disease are at risk for developing it themselves. African Americans tend to suffer more from extreme high blood pressure than Caucasians, therefore increasing their chances for heart disease and heart attacks. American Indians, Mexican Americans, native Hawaiians, and some Asian Americans all have a greater risk of heart disease.
If you fall into any of these risk categories, you should make every effort to manage other risk factors that are controllable, like the following:
1. Smoking – Smokers up their risk factor two to four times more than those who don’t smoke.
2. High Cholesterol – The higher the cholesterol, the higher your chances of getting coronary artery disease. You should use diet and exercises to lower cholesterol, and if that fails, talk to your doctor about medication.
3. High Blood Pressure – This can make the heart work harder and increase your chances of heart attack and even stroke. Again, if diet and exercise don’t work to lower blood pressure, speak to your doctor about prescription medication.
Lack of exercise and obesity are also risk factors for heart attack and heart disease that can be controlled by you. Stress is also a contributing factor in that it affects behavior, like causing you to over eat, smoke, or drink alcohol.
For more information on heart disease, visit http://symptomsheartdisease.net
There are a number of myths about heart care and more specifically about heart attacks. We obviously want to stay clear of heart ailments so we carry with us a number of beliefs about things that we consider will either keep us safe from or make us more prone to heart attacks. But many of these may be misguiding or downright wrong. So let us do away with the unnecessary fears and learn what will actually help our hearts.
Below are some common misconceptions that we try to clear for you:
If you are fit you are not prone to heart attacks
Most of our doctors, health magazines and elders stress on the fact that those who are overweight, eat out a lot, or do not exercise are more susceptible to heart attacks. While they are not wrong, those who are thin, do regular exercise and eat proper are not safe from heart attacks either. This is because cholesterol depositions which are the most common cause of clogging of arteries can be present in thin people too. Physical appearance can many times mask an underlying health problem.
Moreover heart problems and heart attacks are also genetic. So if you have a history of heart issues in your family you are likely to get it too. There are also factors like diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure that put you at a risk, no matter your weight. Gender and age also matter. So in spite of how healthy you look or feel, get a check up to ascertain your heart’s health!
It’s easy to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack
While we are pretty used to watching men, in the typical Bollywood movies, clutching their chests and falling down from what is apparently a heart attack, it needn’t come so obviously. The classic symptoms of a heart attack include a heavy feeling in the chest that may be painful. But the heaviness or pain may spread to the left arm, neck, or jaw.
Chest pain Pressure, heaviness or tightness in the chest Pain or pressure in the neck or jaw Pain or pressure in one or both arms (especially the left) Shortness of breath Sweating Nausea Pain or throbbing between the shoulder blades
Many people suffer from heart attacks but assume it is only a heartburn or fatigue. When it comes to your heart, it’s important to consult a doctor rather than to self diagnose!
No chest pain means no heart attack
Most of us believe that if we were having a heart attack, it would involve having a chest pain. But as mentioned above recognizing a heart attack isn’t that easy. The classic signs include chest pain but it needn’t really cause chest pain. According to CNN, 40 to 60 percent of all heart attacks are unrecognized by their victims. If you’re having some sort of unusual discomfort in your back, chest or upper arms, whether or not it is in the middle of your back or the middle of your chest, don’t wait until your heart stops; go to a hospital and get a check up done.
Women do not suffer from heart attacks
Since womenin movies do not clutch at their hearts and collapse to the floor it is assumed that women do not suffer from heart attacks. True, women are less prone to heart attacks before menopause due to the presence of estrogen, which protects them from heart attacks, but post menopause women are just as prone to heart attacks as men are. In fact, probably more.
According to statistics: [courtesy Women’s Heart Foundation]
Worldwide, 8.6 million women die from heart diseases each year (including heart attacks), accounting for a third of all deaths in women.Women are twice as likely as men to die within the first few weeks after suffering a heart attack.38% of women and 25% of men die within one year of a first recognized heart attack.
Women have the same symptoms as men have for a heart attack
Women do not usually experience the commonly expected chest pain as men do when they suffer from heart attacks. 71% of women experience early warning signs of heart attack with sudden onset of extreme weakness that feels like the flu – often with no chest pain at all. Nearly two-thirds of the deaths from heart attacks in women occur among those who have no history of chest pain at all. Even if they do experience mild chest discomfort they simply do not perceive it to be a heart attack like men do. So they must get any abnormal pain checked up.
Here are some of the symptoms of female heart attack:
Shortness of breathWeaknessUnusual fatigueNauseaDizzinessAbdominal discomfort that may seem like indigestion
Medical professionals are challenged to respond to women’s milder symptoms, due to insufficient information.
If you have chest pain wait and see if it goes away
If you have a pain in your chest, you definitely must not sit around and wait to see if it goes away. If you’re having significant chest discomfort, shortness of breath, or any other symptoms that suggest a heart attack, call a hospital or any clinic’s emergency number. If you delay treatment when you are having a heart attack you could cause irreparable damage to your heart and it could also prove to be fatal.
You cannot die simply out of fear or severe emotions
It is possible to die of fright, or for that matter grief, anger, joy, or just about any other intense emotion. Though usually victims are older and likely to be in unstable health conditions, even younger people could be so affected. It is possible for a terrifying event to trigger a fatal heart attack.
Multiple scientific studies show that important mind and body connections exist for health in general and cardiovascular health in particular. Your levels of stress and wellbeing are extremely important for your cardiovascular health. Higher stress levels or negative emotions like anger or depression could burden your heart pumping due to release of certain hormones in our blood stream like adrenalin. You should therefore look for ways and means to reduce stress and negative emotions in your lives.
If you are young you will have no heart problems
Though predominantly those who are older are more prone to having a heart attack, it is possible to start developing coronary artery disease as a teenager. People in their 20s and 30s have suffered from heart attacks. A heart-healthy lifestyle needs to begin in the childhood, so that kids don’t develop bad habits that they carry to adulthood. Parents should encourage their kids to exercise, limit time spent in front of the television or computer screen, and partake healthy, well-balanced meals.
Children, who are obese, have high blood pressure or a family history of heart disease are at a higher risk. Also, although rare, some children (usually due to genetic differences) can have unusually high cholesterol and thus an increased risk for heart disease.
Another problem today is the kind of lifestyle that we live. Especially the young working population today lives an unbalanced life with no exercise, a lot of junk food and high stress levels. Not to mention overexposure to technology implements that is proving to harm our lives. For this populatonis it especially necessary to have regular checkups and a conscious effort to maintain a well balanced life.
You feel it’s not a heart problem just stress and anxiety
A sudden spurt in your heart beat at rest is the sign of a deeper problem than just probably your seeing your boss seeing what you were looking at on your computer or the fear of a test result. It is possible that you suffer from an irregular heartbeat that requires medication. Similarly, if you often feel like you’re hyperventilating, it’s easy to brand it as anxiety, but it’s worth considering whether you have a heart problem.
In today’s rushed lives, we think that stress and anxiety are just a part of our lives and must be tolerated. But even if you’re sure that your racing heartbeat is only due to stress, you’re still damaging your heart in the long run. Eventually, a constantly speeding heart will weaken the heart’s ability to pump blood to the rest of the body. Stress reduction techniques like yoga, meditation, massage therapy and relaxing baths are just as important to your heart as a healthy diet and regular exercise.
To know more about 10 Myths About Heart Attacks Debunked!
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Article by Ann Stewart
Over the years doctors were not able to clearly diagnose impending heart attacks in women. This was mainly due to their symptoms are not the same as those of men. They were often diagnosed with anxiety or panic attacks, only to experience more severe heart attacks at a later date.
Heart attacks are caused by blockages in the coronary arteries. The symptoms of most heart attacks in men are severe chest pain, nausea, shortness of breath, the numbing of the left arm, or a feeling of impending doom.
Symptoms of heart attacks in women include:
- Shortness of breath- Pain in the abdomen, in the back, in the jaw or in the throat – A sensation of uneasiness or feeling “sick” that is difficult to describe
Many women die before receiving medical attention. Their symptoms may have been absent, too sudden, or had not been diagnosed previously. Also, most women are not aware that they have heart problem.
Although heart attacks are more frequent in menopausal women, the incidence in pre-menopausal group has been growing.
Possible reasons for the higher mortality in women may be due to the use of hormone replacement therapy, the higher rates of depression among women, and more cardiac damage with heart attacks in women than in men.
The main identified causes of heart attacks in women are:
” Excessive sugar intake is the number one risk factor for heart attacks in women” Excessive animal fat intake is the number two risk factor” High blood pressure” Smoking accounts for the vast majority of heart attacks in women under 45 and those with family histories of heart disease” Calcium supplements cause a significant increase in heart attacks especially in older women despite benefits for bones! ” Obesity, especially in the stomach area” Blockages in small arteries deep in a woman’s body ” Clots in blood vessels of the heart and brain” Anxiety” Mental stress” Sleep disturbances” Arteriosclerosis, the thickening of the arteries (previously termed hardening of the arteries)” Unusual fatigue
It must be noted here that estrogen is a major culprit. It raises blood pressure (one of the top three reasons for heart attacks in women), increases triglycerides, promotes clotting (a leading cause of heart attacks), and raises levels of C-reactive protein (causing inflammation associated with heart disease)
There is good news, however! Doctors estimate that about half of all heart attacks in women stem from treatable factors (as opposed to non-treatable factors such as heredity and age):
” Enough vitamin B6 reduces heart attacks by 70%. Its “pandemic” deficiency in Western cultures is the prime cause of heart attacks, and supplements of it as the key to avoiding and curing heart disease” Walking can not only significantly reduce the risk. Women who walked a total of three hours per week or who exercised vigorously for at least 90 minutes a week had one third fewer heart attacks than women who got no exercise” The fats in nuts have been linked to a reduced risk of heart attacks” Eating one serving a day of whole-grain foods reduced heart attacks by 34 percent in another study of 34,000 postmenopausal women.
Furthermore, drinking coffee does not increase the risk.A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reveals that low dose aspirin therapy does not have the same benefits for women as it does for men.
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Whenever people have a panic attack, one of the most common fears are that they are having a heart attack. The first tell tale sign is that if you have ever had a panic attack before, chances are it is a panic attack. And if you have ever had a heart attack before, the chances are it is a heart attack and you need to call 911 immediately. That being said, panic attacks and heart attacks can feel very similar. However, there are some small details that can separate the two.
A Pounding Heartbeat
Many people with panic disorder complain of a pounding heartbeat that they can hear in their ears. Let me tell you, if you are hearing your heart beat, then it’s probably not a heart attack. This is one of the most common complaints of a PANIC attack. The main complaint of those who have heart attacks is a sharp pain or pressure in their chest or a sharp pain up their left arm.
Side Note: Although they say that pain in your arm is a sign of a heart attack and not a panic attack, I have pain in my arm constantly when I am having panic attacks and I have never had a heart attack. I never had the pain in my arm until I read about it on the internet and suddenly the pain in my arm appeared, signaling I most likely psyched myself out. This is common in panic disorder because of the constant anxiety.
Shortness of Breath/Hyperventiliation
This is a sign of panic attacks. Many times, when the body’s “fight or flight” response is triggered, it can alert the system, causing someone to begin to hyperventilate. And also, hyperventilation is a sign of fear and anxiety. Panic would bring about shortness of breath because of the fear that is ignited in the person. Many times, in heart attacks, the breath is not affected at all.
Waxing and Waning
Panic attacks may wax and wane, increasing in intensity and then decreasing for quite a long time. They can even last as long as the night. Sometimes it will involve chest pain and other times it will be a lightness in the chest and a pounding heart beat. Heart attacks do not wax or wane in their intensity. In fact, the pain can be so brutal that it will cause people to double over and it will not let up.
Nausea can be a sign of both panic and heart attacks, however in panic attacks vomiting is very rare, whereas in heart attacks it is more common. That being said, there are still people who will have severe panic attacks and vomit. If you KNOW you’re having a panic attack and throw up, try some peppermint to calm your stomach down.
Depersonalization is a sudden feeling of not being real. It is not an out of body experience, instead people often describe their thoughts at the time as being strange and unreal, as if nothing around them were real. It is a numbing sensation and can leave the person very disoriented. It can almost make the person feel like they’re living in a dream. This is only a sign of panic attacks.
I must make this emphasis: I AM NOT A DOCTOR. I can list the differences for ages, but the only way to tell for sure whether it is a panic attack or a heart attack is to get an EKG, heart X-Ray and check with your doctor. If you feel like you are having a heart attack, I encourage you to call 911 immediately. Keep safe and stay healthy!