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What is a Heart Attack?

Posted Aug 24 2008 1:49pm 1 Comment
ANNOUNCER: A heart attack is a sudden condition caused by a blockage in the arteries that feed blood to the heart. When that happens, sections of heart muscle can become severely damaged and die.

DAVID F. KONG, MD: Heart attacks are very common. In fact, there are approximately 7 million people in the United States living today who have had a previous heart attack or other symptoms from blockages of the blood vessels that feed the heart.

ANNOUNCER: Myocardial infarction is the medical term for heart attack.

DAVID F. KONG, MD: Myocardial infarction is a blockage of the blood vessels that feed the heart. Fundamentally, "myocardial" means heart muscle, and "infarction" means a strangling, essentially.

ANNOUNCER: A heart attack can lead to heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms, and sometimes death. Cardiac arrest is a dangerous condition that can also result from a heart attack. It occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating.

DAVID F. KONG, MD: Cardiac arrest is when the heart doesn't do its job and doesn't develop a pulse or doesn't develop a blood pressure. As a result, people who have cardiac arrest are often not conscious, have no breathing and have no pulse.

DAVID R. HOLMES, Jr., MD: The difference between a myocardial infarction and a cardiac arrest is incredibly important, because most of the time in patients with myocardial infarction, we can have them survive. They get to the hospital, and we can treat them. The problem with cardiac arrest is that that is often a lethal event. That's the sort of situation where a person is walking down the street, falls over dead.

ANNOUNCER: There are different signs and symptoms of heart attacks that everyone should be aware of.

DAVID R. HOLMES, Jr., MD: The signs and symptoms of a heart attack can vary. The typical sign that we would look for would be the development of chest discomfort or upper body discomfort that lasts. It may be associated with shortness of breath, sweating, but it would be described as a sense of fullness or pressure that lasts for more than 15 minutes.

Women oftentimes have different symptoms, and they often have a delayed presentation: perhaps nausea, perhaps just an uneasy feeling. But not the typical findings that we would usually see in men.

ANNOUNCER: Many times a heart attack can be avoided. There are things you can do to help prevent a heart attack from occurring in the first place.

DAVID F. KONG, MD: There are a lot of risk factors that sometimes people can change to reduce the risk of having a heart attack. These: include level of activity; controlling weight; diet, especially avoiding foods that are high in fat and high in cholesterol, and avoidance of tobacco.

ANNOUNCER: But if you think you may be experiencing a heart attack, what you do early on can affect your chances for survival.

DAVID F. KONG, MD: Aspirin has been considered to be very important in initial treatment of people who are having heart attacks. We know that people who use aspirin can reduce their risk of dying from their heart attack by about 30 percent.

For people experiencing signs or symptoms of a heart attack, the important thing to remember is that time is crucial. The important thing is to dial 911 to get emergency responders available to you, and the sooner that you're able to seek medical attention, the better your odds are of survival and of reducing the amount of impairment that you might have later on.

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Great post. A very informative post detailing about all the consequences of heart attack. And especially the consideration point. This is the most serious issue that can save lot of lives during the heart attack of cardiac arrest. In the cases of heart attack and cardiac arrest, or any other heart shocks, time sets to be the most crucial factor for the survival of the patient. Keith Churchwell has extraordinarily explained the pros and cons while handling patient suffering immediate heart attack or cardiac arrest in The response a person takes to treat a victim decides the probability of his/her survival. It’s been my personal experience fighting to survive against a heart attack. A quick recognization of your bodily responses may increase your chances of survival. Because of having many heart problems, I was enrolled in a concierge Healthcare program from elite health. I was attacked by a severe heart attack in a party, luckily surrounded by many people. Some of the sudden changes in my body was recognized by me and anticipated immediately. I got a very severe chest pain which was almost unbearable for more than a minute. I got the suspicion that I might be having heart attack, and immediately called my physician on the phone, and explained my condition and its severity. Because of the immediate guidance, I was directed immediately to have an aspirin which I used to carry with me as prescribed by my physician. It was quite a frightening experience for me to face such a heart attack, but somehow I managed to be calm until 911 arrived. I was immediately taken to the nearest hospital, where already my physician were present and have got everything setup according to my medical history. And it was in some matter of seconds that everything was in control. A doctor, who already have the complete knowledge of the medical history and fitness of the person, extra ordinarily ameliorate your recovery process. Hence such a concierge level program from Elite health, helped me a save my life, like many others.

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