The medical term for a heart attack is commonly known as Myocardial Infarction that occurs when the blood flow to the heart is reduced or obstructed. Essentially, this obstruction can happen due the gradual build-up of fatty deposits within the walls of the arteries that function to supply a normal blood flow to the heart. Eventually, this leads to reduced oxygen supply to the heart muscle and if it goes untreated, the affected heart tissue may die.
Patients might not show signs or symptoms leading up to a heart attack, however some may have chest pains. It's important to detect the any red flags that might indicate a Heart Attack only because this can be greatly prevented. In Singapore, Heart Attacks rank second in the leading cause of death while in other parts of the world it's first.
Often, the cause of a Heart Attack is when one or more arteries gets narrower and affects the normal blood supply to the heart. Some main factors include the build-up of cholesterol deposits within the wall of these arteries (a process known as Atherosclerosis). This restricts blood flow to the heart muscle that affects the supply of oxygen.
There are some modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors associated with a heart attack.
Modifiable risk factors:
- Lifestyle factors such as smoking, lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet
- Lifestyle factors such as smoking, lack of exercise, and an unbalanced diet
- Treatable conditions including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes
Non-modifiable risk factors:
- Age factor, ethnicity, family history related to the disease, gender where men are 3 to 5 times more susceptible to experience a heart attack as compared to women.
-Menopause (the loss of natural oestrogen affects the risk of a woman getting a heart disease)
If you're experiencing a Heart Attack, you might have symptoms that includes:
- Chills and sweats
- Cold sweats
- Pain that spreads from the chest to the neck, arms, shoulders, or the jaw
- Prolonged and severe central chest pain (heacy and crushing sensation)
- Shortness of breath
- Weak pulse
It is vital that the treatment given is to ensure the arteries are unblocked as soon as possible in order to reduce the severity of damage to the heart muscle. Your doctor will evaluate the extent of your condition and carry out the best solution to unblock the artery. This might include:
- Coronary Angioplasty, a surgical procedure where a small balloon or a stent is inserted into the blocked artery to help re-open it and restore normal blood flow function
- Caridac rehabilitation is a programme that aids in ensuring a healthy heart after a Heart Attack by eliminating risk factors
- Anti-coagulants to dissolve blood clots
- To reduce the risk of another heart attack
- To relieve chest pain
- To control diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol
- Arrhythmia, or abnormal heart beat
- Cardiogenic shock, which is similar to heart rupture, but more serious
- Damage to the heart valves
- Heart failure, resulting in the inability of the heart to pump blood effectively around the body
- Heart rupture, where the heart's muscles, valves, and walls split apart