The heart is one of the most essential organs for humans. It pumps blood throughout the body, giving oxygen to each cell. When working properly, people barely notice the heart that is constantly pumping within them. When there is not a problem, people barely feel the blood that courses through their veins. A properly functioning heart is essential for a long and healthy life, so it is extremely important to take care of it.
Heart problems can be scary to deal with. A heart problem could be a death sentence for some people. There are many things that can go wrong with the heart. It can beat too quickly, it can beat too slowly, it can have deformities, or it could get too little blood pumping into it. Another common set of problems include heart disease and heart attack. Heart disease is a widespread problem in the United States, and it is possible that it might lead to a heart attack.
If a heart attack goes without treatment for too long, death may strike. A heart attack may cause pain in the chest. It is caused from a buildup in an artery, stopping blood from getting into the organ. Since anyone can have a heart attack, it is good to know the signs and symptoms so that proper medical care can be sought.
As mentioned, a heart attack, or myocardial infarction, occurs when the heart cannot get oxygen anymore, so it begins to die. The most common cause of heart attack is the buildup of plaque in arteries, called atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis, surrounding the heart. Blood clots and torn blood vessels can cause a heart attack, but this cause is not as common as atherosclerosis. A spasm in a blood vessel can also cause a heart attack, but it is not a very common cause.
There are certain factors of life that can put a person at higher risk for heart attack, some of which are choices and some are not. People who are over 65 have the highest chance of having a heart attack. Men have a higher risk than women, as well as people of African descent. People who have a family history of heart attack or heart attack-related diseases have a higher risk than others. Obesity, smoking, lack of exercise, diet, and stress are factors that people can manage.
Sometimes, people have no symptoms of heart attack, and the symptoms can vary from person to person. There are some symptoms people should always be conscious from, regardless of minor differences between the sexes. Discomfort of pain in the chest is one symptom of heart attack. Lightheadedness and dizziness are also signs that a person may be experiencing a heart attack. Breathing troubles are sometimes a sign of myocardial infarction. Nausea, sweating, and fatigue are also commonly reported symptoms.
A heart attack can cause many other heart complications. A heart attack disrupts the natural rhythm of the heart and sometimes replaces it with abnormal ones, arrhythmias. Without oxygen, there is a potential for the heart muscle fibers to die, causing heart failure. The valves in the heart may also be injured by a heart attack, which may lead to leaking. The sooner treatment for a heart attack is received, the less damage the heart attack can do to the body.
Questions and Answers
Q: When should I seek treatment for heart attack?
A: Doctors recommend receiving treatment as soon as you think you are experiencing one.
Q: Where should I go for treatment?
A: It is best to go to an Emergency Room or to call 911.
Q: How does the doctor diagnose a heart attack?
A: They review medical history, perform an electrocardiogram (EKG), draw blood, and perform other tests.
Q: What are the treatments available for a heart attack?
A: Angioplasty, heart bypass surgery, heart valve surgery, stents, and pacemakers are some of the common treatments.
Q: Do heart attacks require a heart transplant?
A: Only in cases where the damage leaves most of the heart tissue dead or otherwise nonfunctional.
Q: Are there drugs that doctors prescribe?
A: Sometimes painkillers, blood thinners, blood pressure regulators, and other things may be prescribed.
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