Acute Myocardial Infarction: “Heart Attack”
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States today. Acute myocardial infarction, or commonly known as a heart attack, is a result of a heart disease. It can occur suddenly or present itself inevitably overtime. Also known as coronary thrombosis, and according to Medilexicon’s medical dictionary, a heart attack is, “infarction of a segment of heart muscle, usually due to occlusion of a coronary artery.” This means that a heart attack is the result of dead tissue blocking a coronary artery due to loss of blood supply. With the proper education and more exposure to signs, symptoms and treatment, more Americans can prevent this heart disease from becoming a threat.
The myocardium, or muscular middle layer of the cardiac muscle, is a chamber for contractions that receives blood through the atrium and pumps blood out through ventricles. This allows the blood to flow to cells and tissues of the body. Blood functions as a transport system for oxygen, carbon dioxide, waste, nutrients, and hormones. It regulates pH, body temperature, and water content of cells. It clots when necessary to prevent massive blood loss and white blood cells aid in the immune defense by protecting your cells from harmful microbes.
Myocardium infarction occurs when the blood supply to part of the myocardium is severely reduced or stopped, resulting in a blood clot. If a coronary artery is blocked it is most likely from the build up of plaque. Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up inside your arteries. Plaque forms overtime by means of cholesterol and other lipids that accumulate and both harden and narrow the arteries. Stress or heavy exertion can cause the thin covering of the plaque deposits to burst. When this happens your body will try to repair the damage by forming a blood clot, however, since the arteries are already vulnerable and narrow, this new blood clot will clog the artery instead. Thus, a heart attack ensues. (Wedro)
Genetics are a huge factor in determining a person’s risk for heart disease. Some are just more prone than others. Age is the leading threat of a myocardial infarction. Men over 45 and Women over 55 begin to significantly be at risk. Angina will raise the risk of a heart attack because not enough blood travels to the heart in this instance. Blood cholesterol levels are clearly a factor considering risk of blood clots skyrocket with high cholesterol levels. Diet is a huge factor because the consumption of animal and saturated fats will undoubtedly lead to clogged arteries. Having a heart surgery or a previous heart attack will put you in a higher risk bracket because stress on the heart is inevitable thereafter. Hypertension (high blood pressure) due to obesity, diabetes, or genes is rated as high as smoking is for those likely to have a heart attack. Finally, those who choose a sedentary lifestyle chance a heart attack compared to those who exercise regularly. (Nordqvist)
What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Attack?
Chest pain is noted as the most common symptom of a heart attack identified by Americans. This pain, originating in the chest, can come and go or be constant. It does not fade away with change of position, rest, or laying down. It can be described as pounding pressure or squeezing and will usually spread up through the neck and jaw, then down to arms and wrists. Research also continues to study the one fifth of mild heart attacks that go undiagnosed. (Wedro)
This causes the myocardium to suffer progressive damage as it goes untreated. More symptoms include: coughing, crushing chest pain, dizziness, dyspnea, gray color of the face, feeling as though you are going to die, nausea, restlessness, clammy/ sweatiness, and even vomiting. Some cases can occur without pain and are referred to as “silent” heart attacks. It is also now known that painless heart attacks are more commonly found in women than in men.