Heart Attack - Cardiology Clinic in Naples, FL
Heart attack, also known as myocardial infarction, happens when the flow of blood to the heart muscle is suddenly cut off. Heart attack is the leading killer of men and women in the United States. A heart attack is considered a medical emergency.
According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 1 million people have a heart attack each year.
Heart Attack Symptoms
Symptoms of a heart attack may be mild or severe. Many people are not aware they are having a heart attack, but may realize something is wrong. If you experience any symptoms, call 911 immediately.
The most common symptoms of heart attack include:
- Chest pain. It may be constant or go away and come back. You may describe the pain as squeezing, sharp, pressure or fullness
- A feeling of indigestion or heartburn
- Pain in one or both arms or shoulders, jaw, back, or upper stomach above the belly button
- Shortness of breath with or without chest pain
Other common heart attack symptoms include:
- Chronic fatigue that's started suddenly
- Women may feel a tightening around their chest
Heart Attack Causes
The majority of heart attacks occur when one or more of the coronary arteries that feed blood to the heart muscle become blocked. This is called coronary artery disease.
The arteries build blockages over time as fat from your diet collects along the inside of the blood vessels as a sticky substance called plaque. This plaque can collect until it seals off the artery completely and keeps blood from flowing through. When blood can't reach the heart, it only takes moments for the muscle to begin to die. This is a heart attack, sometimes called a cardiac arrest.
Heart Attack Risk Factors
Some risk factors for a heart attack can be changed, and some cannot. Possible heart attack risk indicators include:
- Age 45 or older for men; 55 or older for women
- Smoking or tobacco use
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol and/or high triglycerides
- Family history of heart attacks
- Lack of exercise
- Illegal drug use
- A history of preeclampsia during pregnancy
Heart Attack Treatment
If you believe you're having a heart attack, you should head directly to the emergency room. Your medical team will likely take vital signs and attach a heart monitor. You will have blood work and other imaging tests like echocardiogram or X-ray.
You may also go quickly to a cardiac catheterization lab. In this lab, a team of medical professionals works quickly to visualize the blocked artery and reopen it with an angioplasty.
During an angioplasty, a small incision will be made in your groin and a thin wire will be passed up into the heart. A balloon on the end of the wire will be inflated to open the blockage. You may also have a stent placed—a wire device to hold the artery open.
Heart Attack Recovery
If you have had a heart attack in the past, your chance of having another one is higher. In order to reduce your risk of death, you should follow your healthcare provider's instructions to improve your heart health. This may include eating a low-fat diet, exercising, losing weight, or managing diabetes.
Call (239) 261-0074 or contact Dr. Nancy Vance online for heart attack treatment information.
Insight to Health & Wellness, Inc.