When a clot in the heart’s artery blocks the flow of blood to the heart, the Heart muscle begins to die. This is called the Heart Attack or Myocardial Infarction (death of heart muscle). The dead part of the heart can’t be grown back or repaired. The more time passes without treatment, the greater is the damage.
- Age: In men – after the age of 45
In women – after the age of 50 (after menopause)
However, younger men and women can also have heart attacks.
- Family history : Father/brother – diagnosed before age 55
Mother/sister – diagnosed before age 65
- A previous heart attack or surgical procedure done to open up the coronary arteries
- Diabetes mellitus
- High blood cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Physical Inactivity
- Low socio-economic status
- Wrong lifestyle choices
75% of heart attacks in young people are due to wrong lifestyle choice. According to Andrea Chomistek, an assistant professor in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Indiana University School of Public Health, “Although mortality rates from heart disease in the US have been in steady decline for the last four decades, women aged 35 to 44 have not experienced the same reduction”. This disparity may be explained by unhealthy lifestyle choices.
According to a 20 years study 31,691 women were diagnosed with cardiovascular disease risk factors like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or high levels of blood cholesterol.
In this study:
The average age for diagnosis with a risk factor for heart disease was – 46.8 years.
The average age of a heart disease diagnosis was – 50.3 years.
Though a heart attack is a frightening event, but if we learn the signs of a heart attack and what are the necessary steps to be taken during a heart attack, we can save a life, may be our own.
Usually, heart attack is considered as a sudden and intense event, but that is not true. Heart attack starts as a mild discomfort in the chest. This discomfort may come and go. The discomfort may be like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, or fullness.
Discomfort can also be felt in one or both arms or in the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
Chest discomfort accompanies Shortness of breath. But sometimes it can also occur before the chest discomfort.
Cold sweat, nausea, or light-headedness
Sense of impending doom
People usually take a wait-and-see approach to the warning signs. But Timing is everything. Anyone with these warning signs needs to get medical evaluation and treatment right away.
Clot-busting drugs and angioplasty can stop heart attack in its tracks. Ideally, these treatments should be given within 1 hour of the start of heart attack symptoms. The effectiveness decreases with each passing hour from the onset of the symptoms.
Rules to follow:
Maintain a healthy weight
At least 150 minutes of exercise per week
Watching not more than seven hours of TV in a week
Maximum one drink in a day