The Signs, Symptoms, and Stages of Heart Attack
Speaking in all honesty, neither of us expects or anticipates having heart issues, thus making it easy for the majority to ignore some health problems like chest pains or other symptoms. If you’d like to find out more about heart attack, it’s symptoms, causes, and reasons why it’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention when you notice the common signs, read ahead.
Definition of Heart Attack
Heart attack, also known as myocardial infarction, occurs when the blood’s flow to an individual’s heart gets blocked. In most cases, the blockage is a result of cholesterol or fat buildup or other substances leading to the formation of plague in coronary arteries. Coronary arteries are the blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen and other requirements needed for its function.
Sometimes, the plague ruptures and turns into a clot that obstructs your heart’s blood flow. When such an interruption occurs, there is a possibility that your heart muscles may get destroyed or damaged. Although heart attacks are fatal, sometimes, getting the right treatment and immediate emergency care services can reduce its fatality. This is why you are advised to call for medical help or visit the closest ER near you if you suspect you are having one. Express ERs is a facility where you can go to during a medical emergency.
- Pressure, pain, or a tightness sensation in the arms or chest
- Sudden dizziness or lightheadedness
- Abdominal pain, heartburn, nausea, or indigestion
- Cold sweat
Not every person who has a heart attack will experience the symptoms. The severity of the symptoms also varies from one individual to another.
Various factors act as contributors to fatty deposit buildup (atherosclerosis), which causes your arteries to become narrow. It is possible to eliminate or improve some of these risk factors for the sake of lowering the chances of experiencing a heart attack. They include:
- Obesity – Obesity has been linked to high cholesterol levels in blood, hypertension, and diabetes. All these are factors influencing the occurrence of a heart attack.
- Age – Men who are 45 and above years and women aged past 55 years are at a higher risk of developing heart attack than young men or women.
- Stress – There are ways you may respond to stressful factors that may put you at risk of having an attack.
- Diabetes – When your body fails to produce enough insulin or fails to respond to the insulin hormone, it results in the rise of the body’s blood-sugar level, which increases the risk of coronary infarction.
- Auto-immune conditions – Persons with medical conditions like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to get heart attacks than those who don’t.
- Lack of body exercise – Failure to exercise regularly results in obesity and high cholesterol levels in the blood. Exercising leads to improved heart health and low blood pressure.
- Use of illicit drugs – Using drugs like amphetamines or cocaine can cause coronary artery spasms. When it occurs, the arteries become narrow, interfering with the heart’s blood flow, causing a heart attack.
- Tobacco – Smoking tobacco and its products, as well as exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke for a long time, puts you at risk.
- Hypertension – Over time, hypertension may damage your heart’s arteries raising your risk.
- Metabolic syndrome – This is syndrome is associated with obesity, high blood-sugar, and hypertension. Someone with metabolic syndrome is twice more likely to get heart disease than one who doesn’t.
The Different Heart Attack Stages
Heart attack can occur in either one of its four stages. These four stages are:
- Stable angina – In this stage, your blood vessels are open but not as open as they are supposed to be. One is likely to experience symptoms when they engage in long periods of energy-consuming activities like climbing multiple staircases because there is insufficient blood flow to the heart to sustain such activities.
- Unstable angina – During this stage, the symptoms will occur more often, even when the individual’s physical activity is low since both the blockage and plague are growing.
- Heart attack caused by a partial blockage – Although there is a partial blockage of blood flow, heart attacks of this kind can lead to heart damage.
- Full heart-attack/complete blockage – When blood vessels are completely blocked, it means there is no blood flowing to your heart. When this occurs, pain becomes constant, severe symptoms manifest, and death may occur if one isn’t rushed to an emergency room in time.