The most common cause of death in the United States is a heart attack, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. If you are at risk for heart disease, or if you have a family history of heart disease, then you are at risk of dying of a heart attack.
What causes heart attacks?
A heart attack is the result of an abnormal heart rhythm. The heart’s electrical system is affected, and the heart pumps harder and faster than it should. When this happens, blood pooling in the heart muscle can cause blockage, or rupture.
The main cause of heart attacks is atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries of the heart. These deposits are produced by the body’s own immune system and are a normal part of aging.
When the fatty deposits build up, they can block the arteries. If the blockage is not removed, the heart muscle can begin to beat too slowly, which can lead to a heart attack.
Athletes who train or compete in sports that require a fast heart rate (such as sprinting) are at higher risk of heart attack.
Other risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- High blood sugar
- Inadequate exercise
- High blood alcohol level
- High blood pressure
How is a heart attack diagnosed?
A physician will perform an electrocardiogram (EKG) to check for a heart rhythm problem, and may order blood tests to check for other conditions. A cardiologist will then examine the heart and perform an electrocardiogram (ECG) to check for a blockage in the heart’s arteries.
What are the symptoms of a heart attack?
The symptoms of a heart attack can be different for each person. Some people may feel a sharp pain in the chest or feel lightheaded, or even faint. Other people may feel dizzy or faint, or may have difficulty breathing.
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.
A heart attack can be a very frightening event. Even if you feel fine, you may need to go to the hospital or emergency room.
What can you do to prevent a heart attack?
You can always take steps to prevent a premature heart attack from happening. It’s never too late.
Eat a healthy diet. Consuming a healthy diet is one of the most important things you can do to prevent heart disease. Eat a variety of foods to help you get the right balance of vitamins and minerals.
Consuming a healthy diet is one of the most important things you can do to prevent heart disease. Eat a variety of foods to help you get the right balance of vitamins and minerals.
Exercise: Regular exercise can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Regular exercise can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which is important for maintaining a healthy heart.
Don’t smoke. This is a big one. Smoking increases your risk of developing heart disease by seventy percent.
Don’t drink too much alcohol. Alcohol is a known heart disease risk factor.
What is the treatment for a heart attack?
A heart attack is a medical emergency. Doctors will begin to treat the patient as soon as possible, and may provide supportive care (such as monitoring blood pressure and oxygen levels). If you have had a heart attack and you have signs of a heart attack, or if you have other symptoms, such as chest pain, you should go to the nearest emergency room. Dial 911 or 112. Seeking help is essential to survival rate. Every second doesn’t count, every split second does. It is that simple. Don’t wait to long for appointments or to see a doctor. If you think it is happening you should seek emergency medical treatment in the time it takes to dial 911.
What is the prognosis for heart attack?
If the attack is severe, doctors may need to use drugs to slow the heart’s rhythm or to stop the heart from beating too quickly.
The prognosis for heart attack is good if you are hospitalized or treated in the hospital. If you do not receive immediate treatment, your risk of death is increased dramatically. So, if in doubt, get checked out.
For more information please visit Mayo Clinic