Medical Emergency: Heart Attack

The arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to the whole of the body, including the heart, so when there is a blockage in one or more coronary arteries leading to the heart, the heart does not get oxygen leading to what is known as a heart attack. The muscle cells of the heart section affected by the blockage begin to die if blood flow is not restored immediately. The blockage is most often formed by a build of fat, cholesterol and other substances, forming a plaque in the coronary arteries. Heart attack is medically known as myocardial infarction (MI), acute coronary syndrome and coronary thrombosis. In heart attacks, the heart continue to beats.

Causes Heart of Attack

The most common cause of a heart attack is coronary heart disease, but there are other causes, which can include coronary artery spasm and spontaneous coronary artery dissection.

  • Coronary heart disease – narrowing of the coronary arteries as a result of atherosclerosis (plaque build up)
  • Coronary artery spasm – severe tightening (spasm) of the coronary artery cutting off the blood flow through the artery
  • Spontaneous coronary artery dissection – tearing in the coronary artery

Symptoms of Heart Attack

Immediate recognition of the first symptoms of can limit heart damage but more importantly, save a life. It is important to remember that these symptoms may be present for hours to days, going unnoticed. Symptoms of a heart attack are often mistaken for symptoms of other common problems, such as indigestion or heartburn, but the most common warning symptoms of an ongoing heart attack for both men and women include:

Chest pain or discomfort usually occurs in the center or the left side of the chest
Chest pain or discomfort usually occurs in the center or the left side of the chest
  • Chest pain or discomfort – usually occurs in the center or the left side of the chest, which may last for minutes and disappear and come back; often described as squeezing, pressure, or fullness
  • Discomfort in the upper body – pain may radiate to several upper body parts, such as in one or both arms, shoulders, back, neck, jaw and area above the belly button (stomach)
  • Dyspnea (shortness of breath) – may occur before or after chest discomfort, while engaging in some physical activity or resting
  • Other symptoms: cold sweats, unusually tired for no apparent reason (more common in women), feeling nauseated that can be accompanied by vomiting, sudden dizziness, and light-headedness

First Aid Treatment for Heart Attack

Heart attack is one of the leading killers worldwide for both men and women. Although it can lead to fatal consequences, there are treatments available to save lives and avoid complications from ensuing. It is best to give treatment to heart attack as soon as the signs and symptoms occur. Of the millions who suffer from a heart attack each year, half die within one hour from initial symptoms and before they reach the hospital. Immediately call for the local emergency number or bring to the nearest emergency room. Apply lessons from First Aid and CPR Courses

  • Assist the individual until the paramedics arrived. Check for pulse, airway, and breathing. If necessary, begin CPR.
  • Do not panic and make the individual as comfortable as possible. Do not leave the individual alone at all times until the paramedics arrive.

Heart attack happens when the heart does not get enough oxygen due to a blockage in one or more of the coronary arteries. Call the local emergency number as soon as symptoms of heart attack are observed.

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