The human heart is primarily a muscular organ. It performs many functions in our body, violation of at least one of them leads to serious disruptions in the whole body. Quite often many of us do not pay attention to the alarm bells of the heart, telling that it is just the time to start taking care of it. We work ourselves ragged, smoke a lot and laugh too little, worry too much about trifles and do almost no exercises or sports. So we can say about almost every resident of the modern metropolis. And that doesn’t do any good to our heart.
Most of the cardiovascular diseases begin with poor lifestyle and the gradual “clogging” of the arteries. Heart disease should be diagnosed by a doctor after a comprehensive analysis. However, the symptoms of these diseases should be known to anyone, even to people, who are very far from medicine.
A heart attack, which can very often be provoked by abovementioned, is known as a terrible disease, taking human lives. Heart attack, also known as myocardial infarction, leads the list of causes of death. But what factors contribute to heart attacks and how to avoid it?
When the access of the blood flow to the heart muscle is blocked, it does not get enough oxygen, part of the heart tissue begins to die, and there comes a heart attack.
Blocking of blood flow to the heart occurs because of the presence in the coronary arteries of sufficiently large blood clots, known as plaques. When the plaque blocks the artery, it blocks the path for blood to the heart. Without blood flow the heart doesn’t get oxygen and part of its tissues start to deteriorate, or even die.
The plaques may start to appear in coronary arteries already in childhood. Over the years the situation may worsen. By themselves, the plaque may partially restrict the access of blood to the heart, then angina starts – a disease that increases greatly the possibility of heart attack.
Let us consider the symptoms of a heart attack
The most typical manifestation of myocardial infarction is the appearance of pain. The pain may arise in the left half of the body, in the arm before forearm, in scapula, in the left side of the neck. It is also possible to feel pain in hands, in the lower jaw, in shoulder area, and in the upper abdomen. The pain is long-standing and can be squeezing, stabbing, burning and aching in nature.
Characteristic symptoms indicative of a heart attack, is the shortness of breath, which manifests itself even at minimal activity, and may also be felt at rest. This happens because of the fact that the heart does not receive the needed quantity of blood for its normal functioning. A person may also feel weakness. Sweating may increase greatly.
Attention should be paid to functioning of the heart also in case of increased fatigue. This feeling of fatigue may persist for several days, weeks without any special attention to be paid to it. A heart attack may also be accompanied with stomach pain, nausea and vomiting. In most cases, these symptoms are not associated with a heart disease, but one should pay attention to them, if they occur on the basis of normal food consumption and are not associated with the reception of poor nutrition. Sometimes a temporary loss of consciousness happens.
Heart attacks may be preceded by increased heart rate, which manifests itself in a form of rapid and disordered pulse.
Precursors of a heart attack can also be such conditions as anxiety, feeling of discomfort, insomnia.
People with diabetes, and / or those who are over 75 years may have “silent heart attack.” Such a heart attack is not accompanied by any pain sensations.
Reasons that increase the risk of heart attack
• Age: Age is considered one of the major risk factors. In men over 45, women over 55, the risk of having a heart attack raises a lot.
• Angina: a disease, which increases the risk of a heart attack. The major difference between a heart attack and angina is that having angina the patient will feel better within 15-30 minutes after taking the medication, and the patient having a heart attack will feel no improvement.
• The level of cholesterol in blood: if a person has increased cholesterol level, the risk of blood clots formation in the arteries increases. The clots can block the blood flow to the heart muscle, and this can lead to a heart attack.
• Diabetes: People with diabetes are unfortunately at a higher risk of development of a number of diseases and conditions, many of which contribute to increased risk of a heart attack.
• Diet: People consuming large quantities of animal or saturated fats has a higher risk of a heart attack.
• Genes: a person may inherit a predisposition to heart diseases.
• Heart surgeries: patients who had undergone a heart surgery have more chances to suffer from a heart attack.
• Hypertension (high blood pressure): the disease also increases the risk of heart attack, and hypertension itself can develop due to a lack of physical activity, overweight, diabetes, family diseases history and some other factors.
• Physical inactivity: people who lead a sedentary lifestyle, have much higher risk of heart attack than people who lead an active lifestyle.
• Previous heart attack: anyone who has had a heart attack, are to a much greater extent than other people at risk of heart attack.
• Smoking: people who smoke regularly, are also at risk of a heart attack.
• Excessive body weight (obesity)
Is there any prevention of myocardial infarction or how to avoid it?
We can answer this question in the following way: something we are destined by nature (we can not escape from such risk factors as age and heredity), but there are a number of factors which we can influence, so that at least delay the time of the heart attack.
1. Control of body weight. In people who are overweight, the load on the heart increases, together with the risk of hypertension and diabetes development.
2. Regular physical exercise. Physical activity leads to the improvement of metabolism, and hence weight loss. It is proved that regular exercise lowers for 30% the risk of recurrent myocardial infarction in those who have suffered it. A set of exercises and the level of activity is chosen by your doctor.
3. Quitting the bad habits. Scientists have already long ago proved that smoking and alcohol consumption significantly increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. In people who do not want to give up the destructive habits, the risk to have a recurrent heart attack increases twice.
4. Control of blood cholesterol levels. All people older than 45 are recommended to regularly monitor the parameters of lipid metabolism, as atherosclerosis is one of the major causes of cardiovascular problems.
5. Control of blood pressure as at arterial hypertension the load on the heart increases significantly.
6. Diet. It is recommended to limit consumption of salt, foods containing large amounts of cholesterol, and high-melting fats. The diet should increase the amount of fruits and vegetables containing fiber, vitamins and minerals, and seafood.
7. Receiving preparations containing acetylsalicylic acid. Aspirin is included in the standard of not only treatment of myocardial infarction, but also its prevention. For the selection of the optimal dosage and selection of a particular drug you should consult a doctor.
8. Avoid stressful situations and learn to manage stress.