What Is a Heart Attack?
When a coronary artery becomes blocked (usually by a blood clot), an area of heart tissue loses its blood supply. This reduction of blood can quickly damage and/or kill heart tissue, so quick treatments in an emergency department and/or catheterization suite are necessary to reduce the loss of heart tissue. Loss of heart tissue due to a blockage can cause symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, and even death. Quick treatments have reduced the number of deaths from heart attacks in recent years; however, about 82 125 people die from heart disease in South Africa each year.
Heart Attack Symptoms
The following are warning signs of a heart attack:
- Chest pain (may spread to the back, neck, arms and/or jaw)
- Nausea, vomiting
- Rapid or irregular heartbeats
- Shortness of breath
- Some people may exhibit anxiety, indigestion and/or heartburn (some women may present with these as their predominant symptoms instead of chest pain)
Sudden Cardiac Arrest
A heart attack can cause other abnormalities besides blocking blood flow. For example, sudden cardiac death may occur when the heart’s electrical signals become erratic (arrhythmias). When the heart tissue that is responsible for regular electrical stimulus of heart muscle contractions is damaged, the heart stops effectively pumping blood. Death usually occurs in a few minutes after the heart stops pumping blood. Consequently, rapid coronary pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and a restoration of the organized electrical activity (usually done by electric shock with a defibrillator) may restore effective pumping of blood. This can be lifesaving for some individuals.
Heart failure (also termed congestive heart failure) means the pumping action of the heart cannot meet the body’s demand for blood; it does not mean that the heart fails to pump – it does mean a failure in an aspect of the heart’s ability to complete an otherwise normal function. The symptoms and signs are almost identical to those seen with cardiomyopathy.
IF YOU EXPERIENCE ANY OF THESE SYMPTOMS CALL LIFE MED IMMEDIATELY ON 0861 086 911.Leave a reply →