Beginner’s Guide: All You Need to Grasp About Heart Attacks

Beginner’s Guide: All You Need to Grasp About Heart Attacks

Heart attacks are among the most life-threatening conditions known to man simply because it is a condition characterized by interruption of blood flow to the heart due to the blockage of arteries.

In America alone, approximately 805,000 people have a heart attack annually. It is even shocking that every 40 seconds, there is an American who has a heart attack. Approximately one in five heart attacks is silent, meaning that damage has happened, but the person is unaware of it.

Heart attacks are one of the main reasons why many people find their way to our emergency room. The severity of heart attacks cannot be downplayed, hence the need for proper emergency care.

However, having the facts right can save a life even before disaster strikes. Let’s see some of the common questions surrounding heart diseases: “why do cardiac arrests happen in the bathroom?” or “can showering cause a stroke?”

Without further ado, let’s see the basics of heart attacks.

Heart Attack, In a Nutshell

Heart attack (Myocardial infarction) happens when there is a blockage in the arteries that stops blood flow to the heart. The blockage is primarily due to fat buildup, cholesterol or other substances, which line the walls of the arteries that supply the heart, forming plaque.

At times, plaque can rupture and cause a blood clot that will interrupt blood flow into the heart. That momentary interruption of blood flow can destroy or damage a part of the heart muscle.

A heart attack, in some cases, can be life-threatening. However, modern medicine has made treatment infinitely easier over the decades.

Causes of Heart Attacks

At times, fat deposits such as cholesterol, buildup, and form substances known as plaque, which lines the walls of the arteries. This tends to narrow the blood vessels causing a condition known as coronary artery disease. This is a leading cause of most heart attacks.

During a heart attack, the plaque lining the arterial walls can rupture. In the efforts to seal the rupture, your blood clots. This clot, if it is large enough, it can block the artery that feeds the heart, depriving the heart of oxygen, and nutrients.

Heart attacks can also come about due to the spasms of the coronary artery that interrupt blood flow to a part of the heart muscle. The use of illicit drugs like cocaine and tobacco can cause a fatal spasm.

Another cause of concern is the number of people who get a stroke in the shower. One of the questions our patients ask is, “can a hot bath cause a stroke?”

First, it has nothing to do with showering or the temperature of the water. If you have no problem with your heart or any blockages due to plaque, then it is highly unlikely that you will get a stroke or a cardiac arrest.

However, the challenge is knowing if you have a heart problem or not. Many people start showering from the head. If the water is cold, the body tries to balance the body temperature by increasing the blood flow to the head. If there is a blockage in the blood vessels in the head, then a stroke can happen.

People at risk of getting heart attacks, strokes, and cardiac arrest, are advised to practice sequence showering or use lukewarm water when they take a shower.

Symptoms

At times, there are apparent heart attack symptoms that need emergency care, such as:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pressure, tightness, squeezing, pain or aching sensation in your arms or chest can spread to your jaw, back or neck
  • Face seeming gray
  • Restlessness

Treatment

Heart attacks can be life-threatening if not treated quickly. The greater chances of success depend on how fast you get to the emergency room.

There are instances when a person has a heart attack; they will stop breathing. If this is the case, CPR (cardio-pulmonary

resuscitation) should be done immediately.

Following a heart attack, several types of treatments or medications can be done to prevent future heart attacks, including:

  • Beta-blockers
  • Antiplatelets
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Statins
  • Angioplasty
  • CABG or coronary artery bypass graft

Risk Factors

Specific factors can lead to the unwanted formation of plaque on the arterial walls. If you can eliminate or improve many of the risk

factors, you can reduce your chances of getting heart attacks.

Some of the risk factors are:

  • Age
  • Tobacco
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Family history
  • Stress
  • Inactivity
  • Illicit drug use

Heart attacks, to some extent, can be prevented, but if you happen to exhibit any of the symptoms above, call our doctor at Ascent ER.

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