Heart attack is considered to be one of the leading causes of deaths in America. Research suggests that more than one million people in the United States have heart attacks each year.
Heart is the most important organ in the body that keeps us alive. Like any other muscle in the body, the heart muscle also requires oxygen rich blood to survive and keep functioning. Coronary arteries are the main arteries that are responsible for carrying oxygen rich blood to the heart.
A heart attack occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked and the heart becomes unable to get oxygen. Usually, the supply of blood to the heart becomes blocked due to the buildup of plaque or fatty tissue on the walls of arteries. When the blood cells stick over on the damaged parts, it results in the formation of a clot that blocks that blocks the blood flow to the heart muscle.
What are the warning signs of a heart attack?
No two people can have the same signs of heart attack. The signs and symptoms of a heart attack vary from one person to another. Some of the warning signs of a heart attack may include:
- Discomfort in the center of the chest
- Discomfort in the upper body such as such as arms, back, and shoulder.
Common risk factors for heart attack
There are various factors that contribute to heart attack. Major risk factors are well known as can be controlled.
1. High blood pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension is defined as a condition in which the force of blood against the walls of arteries become higher than normal. High blood pressure is considered to be the major risk factor for heart disease and heart attack.
High blood pressure causes excess strain on the coronary arteries and causes the arteries to become narrowed and the buildup of fat, known as plaque. Over time this plaque hardens and blocks the flow of blood to heart muscles. High blood pressure is often known as a silent disease because generally, it does not cause any symptoms. But when it remains undiagnosed and uncontrolled it significantly affects heart health.
2. High cholesterol
High blood cholesterol is a common cause of heart attack and it can affect anyone. The blood cholesterol level has a lot to do with the risk of developing heart disease and having a heart attack. This is because too much cholesterol in the blood leads to the build up in the artery walls.
Cholesterol is a fat like substance in the blood and is responsible for various body function. But at the same, high than the normal blood cholesterol cause problems. Cholesterol is categorized into two - high density lipoprotein and low density lipoprotein. Having a high level of low density lipoprotein increases the risk of heart attack. However, having a high level of high density lipoprotein decreases the risk of heart attack.
Stress is one of the factors that is responsible for the development of many diseases, including heart disease. Stress is defined as a body’s response to physical and psychological demands. When stress becomes prolonged it starts to affect almost all the functions of the body.
The activation of stress response related pathways plays a role in triggering the symptoms of heart attack. Also, stress causes the release of multiple hormones that can damage the lining of arteries. This damage leads to the platelet in the blood adhere to the injured walls in an attempt to promote the healing process. Unfortunately, the healing process leads to the thickening of arterial walls and results in the blockage.
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder which is characterized by hyperglycemia resulting from problems with insulin secretion, problems with insulin action or both. Hyperglycemia is a medical term used to define a high glucose level in the blood. Studies suggest that the risk of dying from heart disease is two to four times higher in patients having diabetes.
There are various mechanisms that explain the relationship between diabetes and the risk of heart attack. One of the mechanism is that uncontrolled or high glucose level in the blood cause damage to blood vessels and any damage to blood vessels affect the supply of oxygen rich blood to heart muscles. Also, people having diabetes often have low high density lipoprotein, which indicates an increased risk of heart disease.
Smoking ranks among the top causes of various diseases such as heart disease, lung cancer, and other illnesses. Smoking either active or passive can cause cardiovascular disease through various processes such as enhanced oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction, autonomic alterations, and inflammation.
Smoking consists of thousands of chemicals, many of which are poisonous. Nicotine is one of the most harmful chemical presents in smoke which causes major consequences on cardiovascular health. Chemicals in the smoke damage the coronary arteries and cause the arteries to become narrow which increases the risk of blockage and heart attack.
Obesity imposes a significant burden on healthcare society. Obesity is considered to be a major risk factor for the development of various heart diseases which can further results in a heart attack. Obesity is defined as a medical condition characterized by high body mass index and excessive accumulation of fat in the body.
High body mass index is a risk factor for a large number of illnesses. The excess fat in the abdomen is considered to be the strongest risk factor for heart disease. This is because of accumulation of abdominal fat is accompanied by a high accumulation of visceral adipose tissue. Evidence suggests patients having a high accumulation of visceral adipose tissue are characterized by disturbances in many body functions such as blood cholesterol, glucose level, blood pressure, epithelial function, and many more.
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Annie is the oldest writer at Cheap Medicine Shop and is the subject and publishing expert. She has a graduate degree in medicines along with a diploma in creative writing.