Heart attack. Causes and signs of a heart attack
A heart attack, along with a stroke, is the most common problem in the health of the cardiovascular system. And, we mean not simple diseases, but those health problems that lead to a fatal outcome.
To be prepared for a possible heart attack, not to panic and know what to do, we will first consider the main causes of a heart attack, and then figure out the symptoms pointing to it. The next article will be devoted specifically to the question of what to do in case of a heart attack.
Causes of a Heart attack
The main cause of a heart attack is considered ischemic heart disease when the blood supply to the heart muscle is disturbed.
This state of affairs occurs when the arteries carrying to the heart are narrowed, and the internal diameter of the artery is seriously lower than normal. Usually, arteries reduce the lumen due to atherosclerosis – cholesterol deposits on the walls of blood vessels.
Another cause of narrowing of the internal diameter of the vessels can be a spasm of these vessels.
In those situations where the heart requires an increased amount of blood (oxygen from the blood) – for example, high physical activity, intense excitement or experience – the narrow lumen of the blood vessel does not allow the necessary amount of blood to penetrate the heart.
As a result of all this, a heart attack develops.
The same situation is observed in the case when the lumen of the vessel suddenly overlaps (completely or not completely) with a torn clot (embolus).
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Symptoms of a Heart attack
Pain in the heart can indicate a heart attack – angina pectoris or a heart attack. But sometimes the causes of pain are connected to another organ.
Therefore, consider the signs related to a heart attack, and those pains that are most likely related to something else.
A heart attack has the following symptoms:
- Pain in the heart appeared after physical exertion or emotional experience.
As already mentioned, physical activity increases the need for oxygen, and stress causes a spasm of the heart muscle. As a result, the oxygen of the heart is sorely lacking, a heart attack of one or another degree of severity develops.
- The pain is pressing, compressing, localized behind the sternum.
It is the pressing or compressive nature of pain in the heart that is a classic symptom of coronary heart disease.
If the tunic, and not behind the breastbone, but in the heart, then, most likely, it’s something different, not a heart attack.
- Pain gives in the left arm, left half of the neck, jaw, under the left scapula or between the scapulae.
Another characteristic symptom of a heart attack is a pain, spreading from the heart to nearby areas, more often – the left side of the body.
If there is no spreading pain and hurts at one particular point, then most likely it is not a heart attack.
- Pain in the heart arises suddenly and lasts from a few minutes to half an hour and longer.
Depending on the severity of the heart attack, the pain in the heart can last for several minutes (with angina pectoris), and half an hour, and even more.
If the attack quickly passed after taking the medicine and rest, then you can suspect an attack of angina pectoris.
With pre-infarction (unstable angina), pain can last from 15 to 30 minutes and then subside.
In case of a heart attack, the pain lasts longer than half an hour and is not stopped by rest, or by taking medications (nitrates).
If in the field of the heart it hurts for a long time, for days, then, most likely, the reason is different.
- Increased sweating, weakness, a sense of disruption in the work of the heart, a pronounced sense of fear.
This symptom of heart attack refers more to the psyche, but very often it occurs with this problem.
These symptoms almost exactly indicate a high probability of a heart attack. What exactly to do in such cases, we will consider in detail in the next article. But one thing must always be remembered: when a heart attack is mandatory, call an ambulance.