Heart attack is medically known as myocardial infarction, heart attack occurs when some parts of heart muscles cannot contract to pump enough blood to body, heart attack itself is caused by blockage of blood flow to muscles which becomes dead due to non-supply of oxygen and nutrients, myocardial or heart muscles are very sensitive to oxygen concentration and they stop working within second to minutes if they are deprived of oxygen and other nutrients like calcium and potassium which are required for contraction. The area which has been injured by blockage of blood supply becomes dead and scar tissue is formed. Heart attacks are getting common in incidence; people are prone to heart attacks because of their own mistakes. There are number of causes which lead to this deadly condition, below are some most common causes of heart attack;
- Old age
- Lack of physical activity
- High blood pressure
- Elevated blood cholesterol levels
- Diseases of blood vessels and muscles
- Stress, depression and anxiety
- Alcohol intake
- Congested environment
- Air pollution
- Sudden emotional or psychological shock
Among all these causes the basic cause is block of blood supply to heart, heart is provided with small blood vessels which carry oxygenated blood from lungs to heart, in this way heart muscles acquire energy, contract and squeeze all blood contained in heart chambers to a large vessel called aorta, aorta is responsible for delivering blood to different parts of body, if this mechanism fails heart attack occurs. High cholesterol level in blood leads to deposition of fatty plugs within the walls of blood vessels, these plugs are called clots, when clot is formed it block the blood supply and result in attack, like wise stress, depression and smoking leads to release of chemicals which cause contraction of smooth muscles present within blood vessels, when smooth muscles contract; flow of blood stops and causes lack of blood supply. Diabetes and high blood pressure also causes changes in tiny blood vessels supplying blood to heart and cause heart attack.
When person faces an attack, he or she suddenly gets chest pain radiating usually but not necessarily to left arm, or only confined to chest; pain is of sharp, crushing and squeezing type; other symptoms are sweating, nausea, vomiting, cold skin and shortness of breath, sometimes heart attacks are silent and person becomes dead before having medical treatment.
Heart attack is an emergency, as soon as possible patient should be immediately transferred to nearest health facility preferably in an ambulance with facility of artificial oxygen supply and first aid, if patient is present in suffocated environment should be transferred to open air, tight clothing should be taken off, patient should be counseled if conscious, and doctor should be immediately called. There should be awareness about the basic drugs which can be kept under the tongue to improve blood supply of heart; these drugs are easily available in medical stores, people who are prone to heart attacks or those who are at risk, should have first aid drugs in their side pockets or violets or purses so these can be eaten in emergency situations, patients of high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol levels should have name cards with address with them, so in case attack occurs outside home or work place and they get unconscious they can be shifted to their home after treatment.
Medical treatment of heart attack is either conservative by drugs or surgery depending upon the percentage of blockage, if vessels is partially blocked, drugs are given to re-open the vessel by dissolving clot, if vessel is completely blocked options are Angioplasty to surgically remove the clot or Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery to completely replace the clogged vessel.