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Heart attack, also called myocardial infarction,happens when a part of the heart muscle does not get enough blood. (Blood flow to heart is blocked or cut off).

The more time that passes without treatment to restore blood flow, the greater the damage to the heart muscle. Coronary artery disease is the main cause of heart attack…

70 years back there used to be the infection diseases in the valley ,, now epidemic of non communicable diseases like Hypertension, Diabetes, CKD, Hypothyroidism, Stroke etc has engulfed the valley ..

Symptoms Of heart attack?

The major symptoms of a heart attack are:Chest pain or discomfort in the center or left side of the chest that last for the more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back. Discomfort can feel like uncomfortable, pressure, squeezing fullness or pain.

Feeling weak, light headed, faint, cold sweat and fatigue.Pain/Discomfort in the jaws, neck or back.

Pain/Discomfort in one or both arms or shoulders.Shortness of breath.

Nausea and vomiting.In short, symptoms can be different from one person to the next.

Remember A Heart attack is a life threating Medical Emergency.

The sooner you can get medical treatment that restores normal blood flow to your heart, the better your chance of a successful outcome.

Developed countries have code blue system, if a person has chest pain, critical care Ambulance rushes to the place and provide important treatment on the spot.Diabetics have silent heart attacks compared to non-diabetics, they have Neuropathy (Autonomic).

Is there any difference in symptoms between women and men?

In women, the pain is often described as tightness, squeezing or pressure in the chest.Men describes it as a heavy weight on the chest.Women have a greater risk of a heart attack after menopause than before menopause.

According to Research 55% of the people with diabetic have CAD , because of this much risk it is important that people with diabetics keep their blood sugar level under control (HbAic )and check lipid profile.People having angina attacks (stable Angina) that is angina on exertion and eases with rest, one need CAD evaluation.

How heart attack occurs?

Plaque formation in the arteries is called as atherosclerosis. When this Plaque on the inner wall of coronary artery ruptures, it forms a blood clot and blocks the coronary arteryHeart attacks happen suddenly, but they normally result from long standing heart diseases.

what are main risk factors?

There are many risk factors but important ones are as underSmokingDiabetesHigh BP (High blood pressure)High levels of stressObesityHigh cholesterolSedentary life style (Physical inactivity)Eating a diet high in Trans fats & Saturated fats.Family History (Heredity)Less sleep, cold weather. 

What are heart attack complications?

Arrythmias: Abnormal heart Rhythm.Heart failure: Weak heart muscleWeaken heart valves & cause valve leaks.Don’t take a person of chest pain to multiple hospitals.Patient of chest pain should rush to the hospital which is geared up for dealing with the heart attack on emergency and priority basis. 

How many types of heart attacks are there?

STEMI: Complete blockageNSTEMI: Reduces blood flow to the heart, but not cut off completely.STEMI are severe than NSTEMI. 

What are Gastrointestinal causes of chest pain?

Acid Reflex or Heart burn especially After eating,Swallowing problemsGall stonesCholecystitis/pancreatitis. 

How to prevent heart attacks?

Avoid excess carbohydratesAvoid table salt usageAvoid sedentary life styleAvoid stressAvoid excess red meat,stop smoking.Consume fruits& vegetables, Exercise 20-30 min/day or walk for half an hour daily.Meditate as much as possible and seek medical help whenever you have chest pain ..Being a cardiac intensive care specialist, we have received many tourist patients who developed heart attacks , in that context also I request personally government to install PADs that’s public access defibrillators which are already installed in major cities of the country.If person drops unconscious he can be treated with PAD , it can be used by any layman and it is very easy than the use of mobile phone.As critical care specialist working in cardiac ICU, I have observed that majority of the major heart attacks occur in those who are smokers , Diabetics especially not having good diabetic control ,Dyslipidaemia and high Blood pressure.And smokers and diabetics are candidates for BYEPASS surgery as they have multivessel and diffuse coronary artery disease.Unfortunately, patient have psychological denial of heart attack and take it as epigastric, stomach or shoulder pain.As critical care specialist working in cardiac ICU, I hv observed if a heart attack patient delays treatment of heart attack, they usually die before reaching to hospital or it at all survives these patients then land in ischemic cardiomyopathy / use of ICDs /CRT / IVAD and potential need of cardiac transplantation.

(Dr Showkat Shah is Senior Cardiac Critical Care Specialist)

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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