What is Heart Attack? D2G Explains!!!

Everybody is familiar with the term “HEART ATTACK”. All of us must have lost at least one person in the family due to Heart Attack. Everyday Thousands of people are dying all over the world due to Heart Attack. What exactly it is? What happens before, during and after a heart attack? What are the Symptoms? Why it is happening? Can it be prevented?

Well. This Article is going to answer all the questions. Read it. Give your comments & Share with your Friends.

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Before we go in detail about the Topic, it is better to know some basic things about our Heart.

Human Heart – Basics

  • The heart functions as a pump to move blood through the blood vessels of the body.
  • The cardiovascular system, also known as the circulatory system, is composed of blood, blood vessels and the heart.
  • One of the most important functions of the circulatory system is to supply oxygen to all the cells in the body.
  • Every cell in the body requires a constant supply of oxygen to stay alive. Because most of the cells are not in contact with air, the circulatory system must supply them with oxygen.

In simple words – Heart Pumps Blood. Blood Carries Oxygen. 

What is Heart Attack?

Heart muscle needs oxygen to survive. A heart attack, or myocardial infarction (MI), is permanent damage to the heart muscle. A heart attack happens when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of heart muscle suddenly becomes blocked and the heart can’t get oxygen. If blood flow isn’t restored quickly, the section of heart muscle begins to die.

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type  of cardiovascular diseases.

What is CAD?

Coronary circulation is the circulation of blood in the blood vessels of the heart muscle (myocardium). The vessels that deliver oxygen-rich blood to the myocardium are known as coronary arteries.  The coronary arteries are classified as “end circulation”, since they represent the only source of blood supply to the myocardium; there is very little redundant blood supply, which is why blockage of these vessels can be so critical.

If a person has coronary artery disease or CAD, his arteries become narrow and blood cannot flow as well as they should. Fatty matter, calcium, proteins, and inflammatory cells build up within the arteries to form plaques of different sizes. The plaque deposits are hard on the outside and soft and mushy on the inside.

heart attack

When the plaque is hard, the outer shell cracks (plaque rupture), platelets (disc-shaped particles in the blood that aid clotting) come to the area, and blood clots form around the plaque. If a blood clot totally blocks the artery, the heart muscle becomes “starved” for oxygen. Within a short time, death of heart muscle cells occurs, causing permanent damage. This is a heart attack.

Sometimes a coronary artery temporarily contracts or goes into spasm. When this happens the artery narrows and blood flow to part of the heart muscle decreases or stops. A spasm can occur in normal-appearing blood vessels as well as in vessels partly blocked by atherosclerosis. A severe spasm can cause a heart attack.

Watch this One Minute Video to Understand Better

Common Warning Symptoms 

  • Chest pain or discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center or left side of the chest. The discomfort usually lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. It can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. It also can feel like heartburn or indigestion.
  • Upper body discomfort. You may feel pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, shoulders, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach (above the belly button).
  • Shortness of breath. This may be your only symptom, or it may occur before or along with chest pain or discomfort. It can occur when you are resting or doing a little bit of physical activity.

The symptoms of a heart attack can vary from person to person. Some people can have few symptoms and are surprised to learn they’ve had a heart attack.

People with diabetes, and/or those over the age of 75 may experience a “silent heart attack”, one with no pain at all. Painless heart attacks are more common among women than men.

Causes of Heart Attack

  • Age is the largest risk factor for heart attacks. When a man is over 45 years, and a woman is over 55 years of age, their risk of having a heart attack starts to rise significantly.
  • Angina is an illness where not enough oxygen is reaching the patient’s heart. This raises the risk of a heart attack.
  • If a person’s blood cholesterol levels are high, he/she runs a higher risk of developing blood clots in the arteries. Blood clots can block the supply of blood to the heart muscle, causing a heart attack.
  • People with diabetes have a higher risk of developing several diseases and conditions, many of them contribute to a higher risk of heart attack.
  • A person who consumes large quantities of, for example, animal fats, or saturated fats, will eventually have a higher risk of having a heart attack.
  • You can inherit a higher risk of heart attack from your parents, and/or their parents.
  • Hypertension, Obesity, Physical Inactivity, Smoking, Work Stress are also the major causes.

The faster the heart attack patient can be treated, the more successful his/her treatment will be.

How to Minimize the chances of having a heart attack?

  • Get plenty of exercise
  • Get plenty of good quality sleep
  • Keep your blood cholesterol at optimum levels
  • Keep your blood pressure at safe levels
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • No smoking and Drinking

Facts about the human heart

  • A human heart is roughly the size of a large fist.
  • The heart beats about 100,000 times per day (about 3 billion beats in a lifetime).
  • An adult heart beats about 60 to 80 times per minute.
  • Newborns’ hearts beat faster than adult hearts, about 70 to 190 beats per minute.
  • The heart pumps about 5.7 liters of blood throughout the body.
  • The heart is located in the center of the chest, usually pointing slightly left.

World Heart Day is observed on September 29.

Reference Wikipedia and healthy heart

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