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Heart Attack

NOTE: If you’re experiencing chest pain, tightness, pressure, fullness, or heaviness. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Like any other muscle in your body, your heart is a muscle that needs oxygen-rich blood to survive and continue working properly. A heart attack (myocardial infarction, MI) is an emergent condition that happens when your heart does not get enough oxygen, and the heart muscle begins to die (ischemia). The lack of oxygen to your heart can cause permanent damage and it should be treated right away.

A heart attack is also known as acute coronary syndrome (ACS).

What can cause a heart attack?

Click the link for a brief video on heart attacks, causes and symptoms. https://youtu.be/QllguanpKic

A heart attack can occur from conditions such as:

  • Atherosclerosis. This is when fatty substances (plaque) gradually build up in the blood vessels that supply oxygen rich blood to your heart. These vessels are called coronary arteries. The buildup of plaque can block or reduce the blood flow to one or more of these coronary arteries.
  • A blood cloth. A blood cloth can quickly develop when plaque ruptures within a coronary artery, or it can travel to your heart from another part of your body. This can result in a blockage of blood to the heart.
  • Hypotension. This is low blood pressure.
  • Arrhythmias. This is an irregular heartbeat.
  • Severe tightening or spasms of a blood vessel cut off blood flow to the heart.
  • Tearing of the coronary artery.

What are the symptoms of a heart attack?

Heart attack symptoms can be different for everyone. Symptoms may include:

  • Chest pain. It may feel like crushing, tightness, pressure, fullness, or heaviness.
  • Pain radiating to the left arm, jaw, neck, back or upper body.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Sudden cold sweats.
  • Sudden lightheadedness.
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn or indigestion.

How can you minimize your risk?

At New Era HH, we recommend you follow up with your primary care provider routinely and for your annual checkups. You can minimize your risk for heart disease or heart attack by:

  • Taking prescribed and over the counter medications as directed by your physician.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Staying active and exercise daily. Consult with your doctor before starting an exercise program if you have a preexisting heart condition.
  • Eat a heart healthy diet.
  • No not use products containing nicotine or tobacco.
  • DO NOT use illegal drugs.
  • DO NOT drink alcoholic beverages if your health care provider tells you not to.
  • Be aware of how much alcohol you consume.

You should always work with your primary care provider to manage any other health conditions you have, such as hypertension or diabetes. These can affect your heart. It is important to keep all follow-ups with your primary care provider.

Summary

A heart attack (myocardial infarction, MI) is a condition that occurs when an artery that supplies blood to your heart muscle (coronary artery) becomes narrowed or blocked. A heart attack is a serious condition. Get help right away if you experience sudden chest pain, or pain that radiates down your left arm, jaw, back and upper body. Seek help if you have nausea, vomiting, or you become lightheaded or dizzy. Follow up with your primary care provider regularly and take prescribed medication as recommended by your primary care provider.

For a quick video on acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and heart attack click link below.

https://youtu.be/QllguanpKic

As always, we are here to help! At NewEraHH (NEHH), we aim to provide education and make information easily accessible for our patients, families, and communities.

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This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your primary care provider.

References

7Activestudio. (2017, January 15). Heart attack (ACS & mi). YouTube. Retrieved May 20, 2022, from https://youtu.be/QllguanpKic

©2022 American Heart Association, Inc. All rights reserved. (n.d.). American Heart Association: To be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. www.heart.org. Retrieved May 20, 2022, from https://www.heart.org/

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