Heart Attacks: Decoding The Disease
As India is seeing a massive spike in the Heart attacks, it is imperative to say that we should have a good understanding of it to choose the right treatment option. There are several misconceptions about heart attacks, and they are always associated with the fear of death. So let’s understand about heart attacks so that we can take a little extra care to avoid it.
What Is A Heart Attack?
A Heart attack occurs due to the blockage of blood flow to the heart. A heart attack causes permanent damage to the cardiac muscles of the heart. The damage may be mild or severe, to a portion of your cardiac muscles. Instant damage of all or most of your cardiac muscles at one go is not a very common phenomenon, but it’s not impossible.
What Happens During A Heart Attack?
When the artery, the blood vessel blood that carries blood to the heart is completely blocked, blood cannot flow to the heart. The blockage may be due to the buildup of cholesterol, fat, or other substances or blood clot. These substances form as a plaque and deposit on the walls of the artery suddenly or over a period of time.
These blocks may stop the blood flow or reduce the blood flow into the heart. So, blood doesn’t reach all parts of the heart. The muscles in the deprived areas suffer from damage within 20 to 40 minutes. If it is left untreated, the damage will expand. Any damage in cardiac muscles is permanent. If the extent of damage is very high, it might result in death.
Diagnosis Of Heart Attack
Generally, doctors prefer regular physical examination to identify risk factors that can lead to a heart attack.
However, to diagnose a heart attack, doctors will check for various symptoms associated with a heart attack and then start evaluating. The diagnosis is based on various test results and your symptoms.
Some of the diagnostic tests are:
Electrocardiogram (ECG): ECG is the first test performed to diagnose a heart attack. It helps to identify the damage that occurred to the heart muscle and location of occurrence. Heart rate and rhythm of the heart is also monitored in this test.
Blood tests: Certain heart proteins like cardiac enzymes slowly leak into your blood when heart muscles get damaged due to a heart attack. Hence blood tests are done to identify any such leakage.
Other additional tests that are performed to determine the heart attack more accurately are :
- Chest X-ray
- Exercise stress test
- Cardiac CT or MRI
- Coronary angiography
What Are The Symptoms Of A Heart Attack?
clear indications. As opposed to heart failure, where the symptoms might develop over a period, the symptoms of heart attack will start showing suddenly.
- Chest pain (Immense)
- A feeling of tightness in the chest
- Trouble with breathing
- Pain spreading to the neck, shoulder and left arm
- Cold sweat
Sometimes, some people suffer silent heart attacks, especially if it is a minor one. It’s called silent because it gives minimal symptoms which are often ignored. Such symptoms may include:
- Headache, pain in the left arm or upper waist
How Are Heart Attacks Treated?
Primarily, a heart attack can be calmed by a painkiller and treated with an anti-clotting medicine or a clot prevention drug. Your health care expert will also give you medications to reduce blood pressure to avoid stress to the cardiac muscles. Some medicines help the artery to dilate so that the blood flow restarts. Some other treatments include :
- Pain relievers like morphine are used to reduce discomfort.
- Blood thinners or anti-clotting medicine like aspirin are used to prevent formation of blood clots so that the blood flow through narrowed arteries improves.
- Drugs like Thrombolytics, often called clot busters, are used to dissolve clots.
- Antiplatelet or anti-clotting drugs like clopidogrel are used to prevent forming of new clots and stop the growth of existing clots.
- Nitroglycerin is used to widen the blood vessels. It improves the flow of blood and relieves from chest pain
- Beta-blockers lowers your BP thus relaxing the heart muscle. They also limit the severity of damage to the heart muscles and prevent further heart attacks.
- To control the blood cholesterol Statins drugs are used.
For more severe conditions, immideate angiography might be necessary.
Heart catheterization: A thin tube, called a catheter, is inserted to your heart through your hand . The catheter has a micro-balloon in it which inflates inside the vein, opening it up. Depending on the condition, the doctor might place a stent to keep the artery open.
Bypass Surgery: In a coronary heart bypass surgery, new artery from other areas are diverted to old vessels by opening chest.
Heart attacks can be prevented if you stay vigilant. A healthy lifestyle and proper exercising can reduce the risks to a great extent. If you are genetically endowed, talk to your doctor to know what supplementary diet, medicine, or exercise, you will require to keep yourself safe from heart attacks. For more information, visit Sunshine Hospitals and meet our best cardiologists in Hyderabad.
About The Doctor:
Dr. Sanjeev Kumar – MBBS, MD(General Medicine), DM(Cardiology)7995916038
Dr. Sanjeev Kumar, Senior Interventional Cardiologist at Sunshine Hospitals, Gachibowli, having 9 years of experience in interventional cardiology services. He is one of the dedicated Cardiologist in Hyderabad and specialist in coronary & paediatric interventions. He is a gold medalist in both Madras Medical College & MlN Medical College, Allahabad. He performed more than 2000 cardiac procedures across the Sunshine group of hospitals.
He is a profound speaker as he delivered his valuable speech in various national & international conferences. Dr. Sanjeev Kumar is the only cardiologist doing venous interventions for CKD patients in Hyderabad. Over the last 4 years, he successfully performed more than 900 primary PCI stenting. He has 99percent success rate and he maintains an excellent rapport with patients and attendants.
About Sunshine Hospitals:
A Multi Super Speciality Institution, 500 bedded Sunshine Hospitals (Paradise Circle, Secunderabad) is promoted by globally reputed Joint Replacement Surgeon Dr AV Gurava Reddy (Orthopedic Doctor) and like-minded associates who share the objective of making world-standard healthcare available, affordable and accessible to the common man. Sunshine has now become one of the best hospitals for many treatments including Orthopedic, Gastroenterology, Cardiology, Trauma and Neurology.