Heart attack occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked, this is often caused by a buildup of cholesterol, fat and other substances that forms a plaque on the arteries that feed the coronary arteries. This interruption of blood flow leads to destruction of some parts of the heart muscle. Heart attack is often referred to as myocardial infarction and it can be fatal if not dealt with immediately. Moreover, spasms on the coronary artery may cause heart attack, the spasms may restrict the blood flow and reduction of blood flow also referred to as ischemia can cause permanent damage to the heart muscles.
Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of myocardial infarction include extreme weakness , shortness of breath , anxiety , dizziness , vomiting , rapid or irregular heartbeats , discomfort on the arms, throat and pins on the chest , arm or below the breast bone. During a heart attack, the symptoms may last for a half an hour or longer, some people will have a heart attack without exhibiting any of the symptoms and this kind of heart attack is prominent in diabetic people.
Causes of heart attack
The main cause of myocardial infarction is the blockage of the coronary arteries, over time the artery narrows and blood flow is hampered. The buildup of substances including cholesterol on the coronary artery results in blockage and blood cannot flow to other parts of the heart. The heart muscle dies off and the person experiences heart attack. Coronary artery spasms is another cause of heart attack, it is whereby the muscles are shut off by the spasms. Moreover, use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and tobacco can aggravate the problem by causing muscle spasms. Myocardial infarction can also occur because of the tear in the artery of the heart this is referred to as spontaneous coronary artery dissection.
Myocardial infarction can be diagnosed by a physician and often questions regarding the symptoms will be asked to evaluate the situation. Based on test results and symptoms the doctor may diagnose you with myocardial infarction, the main goal is to treat the patient quickly and limit muscle damage. Some of the tests carried out to diagnose heart attack include ECG or electrocardiogram, this can tell the level of damage the heart has experienced. Moreover, heart rhythm can be monitored. Blood tests can also be carried to determine the levels of enzymes, enzymes such as troponin in the bloodstream may indicate heart attack.
Once the condition has been diagnosed, treatment should be carried out immediately to limit heart muscle damage, drugs and surgical procedures are utilized in treating myocardial infarction. The main aim of administering the drugs is to break up the blood clots and prevent platelets from sticking to the plaque. The medication can stabilize the plaque and blood flow is restored, some of the drugs used include aspirin, which prevents blood clotting, antiplatelets, thrombolytic therapy among others. If the condition is severe and the medication does not work then surgery may be performed to remove the clot, stents or angioplasty is some of the procedures that are employed.