What is Heart Attack and How it is Caused

Heart Attack

What is Heart Attack?

Heart attack or myocardial infarction (medically called MI or coronary thrombosis) is the consequence of complete obstruction of blood supply to a part of the heart muscles. This occurs sue to 100% blockage in any of the coronary arteries or their branches, the heart muscles are completely deprived of their blood and oxygen supply which leads to its death.

Cause of Heart Attack

Heart attacks are sudden in onset and the cause is rapture of growing blockages. The blockages are usually covered by a thin membrane called intimal membrane, which also keeps the deposits intact. This elastic membrane gets more and more stretched as more and more fatty deposits occur. 

But if the fatty deposits continue below this permeable membrane, one day a time will come when the membrane cannot stretch further and breaks off. This leads to the formation of a clot or thrombus inside the tube, closing the lumen completely. This completes the process of heart attack. The area of the myocardium (heart muscles) which gets the blood through the closed artery, dies – in the event of no blood supply.

Heart attack often occurs after a heavy meal full of fat after sudden anger or excessive sorrow or grief or excessive stress. Heart attacks occur more frequently in the early mornings. Heart attacks also occur during the process of angiography and angioplasty when the catheter or balloon is inflated and completely blocks the lumen of the coronary artery or breaks off the blockage by mechanical means.

Symptoms of Heart Attack

Pain is the most common presenting complaint in patients with heart attack. In some instances, it may be severe enough to be described as the worst pain the patient has ever felt. The pain is deep and visceral; adjectives commonly used to describe it are heaviness, sinking, squeezing and crushing, although occasionally it is described as stabbing or burning. It is similar in character to the discomfort or angina pectoris but usually is more severe and lasts longer. 

Typically the pain involves the central portion of the chest and/or the epigastrium (the upper part of central abdomen), and on occasion it radiates to the arms. Less common sites of radiation include the abdomen, back, lower jaw and neck. 

The frequent location of the pain beneath the xiphoid (lower most part of breast bone) and patient’s denial that they may be suffering a heart attack are chiefly responsible for the common mistaken impression of indigestion. The pain of heart attack may radiate as high as the occipital area but not below the umbilicus.

Tips to Prevent Heart Attack

1.    Keep your serum cholesterol level below 180 mg/dl.

2.    Keep your body weight within 5 Kgs of your ideal weight. Overweight people have more chances of heart attack.

3.    Stop smoking immediately. Smoking is so bad that even after stopping your risk is still high for the next three years.
4.    Tobacco in any other form is equally bad as smoking.
5.    Keep your serum triglycerides level below 160 mg/dl by any means. With this level going up your chances of heart attack goes up and up. People are known to have a triglyceride level of even 1000 mg/dl.
6.    Exercise at least half an hour every day.
7.   Go for an exercise stress rest of TNT (tread mill test) at the age of 30 years – especially if you are male.
8.   Keep control on your blood pressure.
9.   Have plenty of fruits in your lunch and dinner. They provide plenty of fibres and antioxidants which prevent heart attack.
10. Consume plenty of vegetables and salads.
11. Meditate at least 10 minutes every day to cut down stress.
12. Cut down intake of milk and milk products.
13. Animal products like meat and egg yellow are to be avoided as far as possible.
14. Use very little or completely avoid nuts and high oil items.
15. Do not walk after heavy meal for at least one hour.
16. Avoid stress of any kind, especially anger.
17. Do not stop medicines – if you are diagnosed heart patient.
18. Practice simple yoga every day for 15 to 30 minutes.

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