In today’s world, heart attacks are the leading cause of death for both men and women to be more specific, heart attack is the common term used for Myocardial infarction (MI) or acute myocardial infarction (AMI) which is caused when the blood supply to a part of the heart gets disrupted resulting in the death of the heart cells. The interruption of the blood is mainly because of blockage of a coronary artery causing the atherosclerotic plaque to rupture leading to ischemia, which if left untreated for a long time can be fatal. The other vital reasons behind heart attack may include previous cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, obesity, tobacco smoking, the abuse of certain drugs for instance cocaine and methamphetamine), high blood levels of certain lipids (triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein) and low levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL), diabetes, chronic kidney disease, heart failure, excessive alcohol consumption and chronic high stress levels.
Classical symptoms of acute myocardial infarction include sudden chest pain (typically radiating to the left arm or left side of the neck), shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, palpitations, sweating, and anxiety. Approximately one-quarter of all myocardial infarctions are “silent”, that is without chest pain or other symptoms.The onset of symptoms in myocardial infarction (MI) is usually gradual, over several minutes, and rarely instantaneous. These symptoms are likely induced by a massive surge of catecholamines from the sympathetic nervous system which occurs in response to pain and the hemodynamic abnormalities that result from cardiac dysfunction.
The main cause of worry is that before seeking any medical aid people usually wait for long hours following a heart attack where as in the first hour of feeling symptoms, the patient should be given medical attention. This may happen because the patients do not identify the symptoms and often ignore the attack thinking it to be only heartburn. People should not wait for the symptoms to become so overwhelming and should provide the victim with the medical aid as soon as possible.
The risk of a recurrent myocardial infarction decreases with strict blood pressure management and lifestyle changes, chiefly smoking cessation, regular exercise, a sensible diet for those with heart disease, and limitation of alcohol intake. People are usually commenced on several long-term medications post-MI, with the aim of preventing secondary cardiovascular events such as further myocardial infarctions, congestive heart failure or cerebrovascular accident (CVA). Such medications may include ACE inhibitor, antiplatelet drug, statin, aldosterone antagonist and beta blocker.