pain – a sensation of pressure, tightness or squeezing in the centre
of your chest
in other parts of the body – it can feel as if the pain is travelling
from your chest to your arms (usually the left arm is affected, but it can
affect both arms), jaw, neck, back and abdomen
overwhelming sense of anxiety (similar to having a panic attack)
Although the chest pain is often
severe, some people may only experience minor pain, similar to
indigestion. In some cases, there may not be any chest pain at
all, especially in women, the elderly and people with diabetes.
It’s the overall pattern of
symptoms that helps to determine whether you are having a heart attack.
Reason for Heart Attack
A heart attack is usually caused by the buildup of plaque in your coronary arteries. The plaque builds up over time to eventually slow or completely block blood flow to the heart muscle. Plaque is made up of fatty substances, like cholesterol, in your blood. The plaque builds up slowly over time. Eventually plaque can harden and narrow the coronary arteries. Plaque can also slow or completely block blood flow to the heart muscle. When plaque blocks the blood supply to your heart, your heart cannot get the oxygen it needs.
Atherosclerosis is the general medical term for plaque buildup that clogs arteries. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the medical term for atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries. So atherosclerosis or CAD—whatever term you use—can cause heart attacks.
For many decades doctors thought that heart attacks—and CAD in general—affected mostly men. Doctors are now realizing that heart disease is just as common in women. As a result, more clinical studies are being done to learn about how heat attacks differ in men and women .
Who is at very risk condition?
Risk factors of heart attacks you cannot change
risk increases as you age
risk increases if there is a family history of heart or blood vessel
Risks Factors of heart attacks that you can change
Eating high-fat foods
Lack of exercise
Other health conditions that can increase your risk
Preventive action for Heart Attacks
Cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of cardiovascular disease in women, with more than 50 percent of heart attacks among middle-aged women attributable to tobacco. Risk of cardiovascular disease begins to decline within months of smoking cessation and reaches the level of persons who have never smoked within 3 to 5 years.
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2. LOWER YOUR CHOLESTEROL.
High blood cholesterol is a
condition that greatly increases your chances of developing coronary heart
disease. Extra cholesterol in the blood settles on the inner walls of the
arteries, narrowing them and allowing less blood to pass through them to the
heart. Aim for total cholesterol below 200 mg/dL; LDL cholesterol below 130
mg/dL and HDL above 35 mg/dL.
3. MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT.
Obesity and sedentary lifestyles are
epidemics in the United States that contribute to increased risk of
cardiovascular disease. The prevalence of obesity has increased among both men
and women in the United States in the past decade; currently about one third of
adult women (or 34 million) are classified as obese. Also, 60 percent of both
men and women get no regular physical activity. Obesity, especially abdominal
adiposity, is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease in women.
4. EXERCISE REGULARLY.
Recent evidence suggests that even moderate-intensity activity, including brisk walking, is associated with substantial reduction of cardiovascular disease risk. These findings support the 1995 federal exercise guidelines endorsing 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity most days of the week, a program that should be feasible and safe for most of the population. Regular exercise and maintenance of healthy weight should also help reduce insulin resistance and the risk of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, which appears to be an even stronger risk factor for cardiovascular disease in women than in men. Diabetes is associated with a threefold to sevenfold elevation in cardiovascular disease risk among women, compared with a twofold to threefold elevation among men. Approximately half of all deaths in patients with non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus are due to heart disease.
5. EAT LESS SATURATED FAT, MORE PRODUCE AND MORE
Diets low in saturated fat and high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fiber are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Also, a recent study reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal confirmed that eating fruits and vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables and vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables, seems to have a protective effect against coronary heart disease. You may even think about moving toward more flexitarian or vegetarian eating habits: A vegetarian diet reduces the risk of coronary artery disease, and may even reverse existing coronary artery disease when combined with other lifestyle changes. A Mediterranean diet that uses olive oil can reduce the risk of coronary artery disease.
6. AVOID TRANS FATS.
Trans fatty acids have been linked to adverse lipid profiles and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. This includes most margarines. The role of other fatty acids, including monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and marine omega-3 fatty acids, remains controversial.
7. CONSUME ALCOHOL ONLY IN MODERATION.
Moderate intake of alcohol is
related to reduction of cardiovascular disease — but may raise blood pressure
and increase risk of breast cancer. Early surgical menopause is linked to
increased risk of cardiovascular disease, which appears to be negated by the
use of estrogen therapy.
8. ARM YOURSELF WITH RISK-REDUCING VITAMINS.
Antioxidant vitamin supplements,
particularly vitamin E and homocysteine-lowering agents such as folate and B6,
have promising roles in prevention of cardiovascular disease, but conclusive
evidence may hinge on the results of several ongoing randomized clinical
trials. When it is found in unusually high levels, homocysteine brings the same
degree of risk as having high cholesterol does. The B vitamins, especially
folic acid and B12, will drive elevated homocysteine levels down to normal,
often without the need of any prescription medication.
9. GIVE YOURSELF SOME NEW STRESS-MANAGEMENT TOOLS.
controlled stress may have an adverse effect on blood lipids. An attitude of
hostility has been powerfully linked with a higher incidence of cardiac events,
and cynical distrust has been associated with accelerated progression of
carotid artery disease. Relaxation methods (meditation, breathing
exercises), yoga, and stress management techniques are essential
for preventing cardiovascular disease and coronary artery disease and for
reducing the risk of recurrent cardiac problems. Meditation improves exercise
tolerance and decreases electrical charges associated with poor circulation to
the heart. Meditation has also been shown to lower cholesterol and reverse
carotid artery thickening. Also consider acupuncture, which has been shown to
help relax the myocardium and improve circulation.
your health professional about herbs and nutritional supplements that may
be useful in preventing and treating cardiovascular disease, including:
Garlic (one garlic clove is roughly equal to 4 mg to 1 gram of garlic; a daily dose of 600 to 800mg may be recommended)
Folic acid (500 to 5000 micrograms daily may be recommended)
Coenzyme Q10 (100 to 300 mg daily may be recommended)
Vitamin E (400 to 800 International Units daily may be recommended)
Magnesium (200 to 400 mg daily may be recommended)
Niacin (A typical oral dose of 100 mg, three times daily; may gradually increase to avg. dose of 1 gram three times daily, with a maximum dose of 6 grams. Extended release tablets: Dosing may begin with one 375-milligram tablet at bedtime and be increased by no more than 500 mg per four-week period, to a maximum of 2,000 mg, given as two 1,000-milligram tablets before bed)