headersmall

HEART ATTACK:

HEART ATTACK WomanMyocardial infarction (MI), commonly known as a heart attack, occurs when blood flow decreases or stops to a part of the heart, causing damage to the heart muscle. The most common symptom is chest pain or discomfort which may travel into the shoulder, arm, back, neck, or jaw. Often it occurs in the center or left side of the chest and lasts for more than a few minutes. The discomfort may occasionally feel like heartburn or indigestion. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, nausea, feeling faint, a cold sweat, or feeling tired. An MI may cause heart failure, an irregular heartbeat, cardiogenic shock, or cardiac arrest.

Most MIs occur due to coronary artery disease. Risk factors include high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, lack of exercise, obesity, high blood cholesterol, poor diet, and excessive alcohol intake, among others. The complete blockage of a coronary artery caused by a rupture of an atherosclerotic plaque is usually the underlying cause of an MI. Several tests are useful to help with diagnosis, including electrocardiograms (ECGs), blood tests, and coronary angiography or heart catheterization.

Treatment of an MI is time critical. Aspirin is an appropriate immediate treatment for a suspected MI followed by an immediate trip to the emergency room. In some cases, an MI may be treated with medications, where others may need to have the arteries opened via angioplasty. For people with blockages of multiple coronary arteries and diabetes, coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) may be recommended rather than angioplasty. After an MI, lifestyle modifications, along with long term treatment with medications are typically recommended.