What Happens During A Heart Attack

A heart attack is when a heart muscle is damaged due to lack of oxygen and leads to impairment of the pumping action. The heart pumps and delivers oxygenated (rich in oxygen) blood to the entire body. Deoxygenated (rich in carbon dioxide) blood from the rest of the body is delivered to the heart, which is then pumped in to the lungs for oxygenation. The heart itself also needs oxygen to function properly which is delivered by specific arteries (coronary arteries). Any blockage or disruption of oxygen to the heart muscle damages the heart muscles and can lead to a heart attack.

Normal arteries supply an uninterrupted supply to the heart muscles. Blockage in blood vessels over time can slowly start affecting this supply. The extent of damage to the heart muscles is determined by the extent of blockage. A heart attack is identified by paying attention to some of the symptoms associated with it. The intensity of these symptoms depends on the severity of the heart attack. For some it could be a minor attack that passes within minutes and for some, fatal.

During a heart attack, the upper body goes through a lot of pain and discomfort and these are signs to seek medical help. The symptoms of a heart attack include:

Pain and pressure in the chest.
Pain that extend to other parts of the body such as back, shoulder, arms, neck jaw.
Feeling of nausea or being Lightheaded and sweating
Shortness of breath

There are many factors that can lead to the blockage of the coronary artery. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, old age, genetic factors are some conditions that need to be considered. The build up of fatty tissue or bad cholesterol in the arteries happens over time. This makes the walls of the blood vessel narrow and decreases blood flow.

Blood clot formation can also cause impairment of blood and oxygen to the heart. The clot usually forms at a site where the artery is already damaged due to some of te conditions mentioned above. The size of the clot determines the extent of blockage and hence the severity of heart muscle damage. If more than 90% of the artery is blocked, the chances of heart attack are significantly increases.

Research shows that 33% of people are prone to die within a few hours of the onset of a heart attack. So it is important to learn to recognize the symptoms when it happened. Usually the body shows signs of heart damage before a heart attack. These could be dismissed as regular pain or discomfort due to indigestion. Prompt action can prevent serious damage to the heart and even save a person from heart failure.


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