A heart attack is one of the biggest fears for patients with heart disease, as a heart attack can have a fatal outcome. Also called a myocardial infarction, a heart attack is considered a medical emergency. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, call 911. Anyone experiencing a heart attack needs to get to the hospital for immediate medical evaluation.
You may be wondering if heart attacks have triggers. There is no single trigger for a heart attack, but there are risk factors that increase its likelihood. Patients with coronary heart disease are at the highest risk for heart attacks.
Heart Attack Symptoms
Heart attacks may come on suddenly or progress slowly. A heart attack cannot be ignored and will get worse until you seek immediate medical care. Pay attention to your body and be on the lookout for these symptoms:
Chest Pain and Discomfort A feeling of tightness in the chest that may be accompanied by pain lasting over a minute is one of the earliest symptoms of a heart attack. It may go away only to return after a few minutes. To err on the side of caution, do not wait for the pain to subside on its own. Go for emergency medical care immediately.
Upper Extremity Discomfort Another symptom of a heart attack is discomfort in the upper extremities, such as the jaw, neck, arms, and even stomach. The sensation or feeling in your chest spreads to your arms. Indigestion, abdominal pain, and heartburn are also symptoms of a heart attack.
Shortness of Breath A heart attack symptom that can occur even without chest pain and discomfort is shortness of breath. Nausea, dizziness, and breaking out in cold sweats may follow this symptom.
It’s important to know that heart attack symptoms are not the same for everyone. For this reason, you need to pay attention to your body. If you are at high risk for heart attacks, make sure to pay extra close attention for unusual symptoms and seek medical care as soon as possible if they develop.
Heart Attack Causes
So, what exactly causes a heart attack? A heart attack is caused by plaque formation in the arteries. The plaque can rupture and spill the contents into the bloodstream. If plaque ruptures, it forms a clot that can block blood flow to the heart, which is what happens during a heart attack. The clot that forms deprives the necessary oxygen the heart needs. Deprivation of oxygen-rich blood to the heart causes a heart attack.
Treatment for heart attacks has changed dramatically, and heart attacks do not always have fatal outcomes. But if you want to have the best possible outcome, you have to act fast. Even if you only suspect it’s a heart attack, call for help immediately.
Continuing Care for Heart Attack Patients
If you or a loved one has suffered a heart attack in the past, you may need continued monitoring and management. At Carrus, we provide exceptional long-term care for patients with heart disease. We are a long-term acute care hospital (LTAC) staffed by compassionate and dedicated physicians. We provide medical care to patients of all ages.
For more information about our services, you may call us at (903) 870-2600. Our friendly team of staff and physicians is happy to hear from you.