Heart attack is one of the most dreaded worldwide, some of the most common symptoms include:
Signs of heart attack include:
Chest discomfort or uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing, or pain in the center of the chest that lasts longer than a few minutes, or comes and goes.
Spreading pain to one or both arms, back, jaw, or stomach.
Cold sweats and nausea
As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to have some of the other warning signs, particularly shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and back or jaw pain.
The longer you wait to get medical treatment, the greater the likelihood that you will have severe, permanent damage to your heart or even die. The earlier the treatment, the more likely it is that damage to your heart will be kept to a minimum. Remember, treatments are most effective if given within one hour of when the attack begins.
Heart attacks are most often diagnosed by health care providers in an emergency room. Some of the tests that can de done to tell if you have had or are having a heart attack include:
· Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) - checks the heart's rhythm and can locate the part of the heart where a heart attack might be occurring (or has occurred).
· Blood test - checks for substances in the blood called biomarkers , which may increase in amount in the blood if heart cells are injured.
· Echocardiogram (echo) - looks for problems with the heart's pumping action.
· Stress test - looks for blockages in blood vessels and problems with the heart.
· Cardiac catheterization - looks for problems with the blood vessels, heart chambers, heart valves, and heart birth defects.
· Nuclear imaging - looks for damaged areas of the heart and problems with the heart's pumping action.
Once it is clear that a person is having a heart attack, immediate treatment usually includes drugs to help open the blocked artery, which restores blood flow to the heart muscle, and prevents clots from forming again.
If you suffer a heart attack and get to an emergency room quickly, a therapy called reperfusion might be done. The sooner you have any part of this therapy, the better your recovery will be. Reperfusion involves:
· Drugs to dissolve blood clots ( thrombolysis ).
· Balloon angioplasty or percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) to widen narrowed arteries with an inflated balloon.
· Coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) to improve blood supply to parts of the heart muscle that suffer from decreased blood flow.
Cardiac rehabilitation programs are offered in most communities to help people recover from a heart attack and reduce the chances of having another attack.
The odds of both women and men having a second heart attack are relatively high. That is why it is important to continue with medical follow-up treatment, participate in cardiac rehabilitation if possible, and make needed lifestyle changes (such as quitting smoking and starting an exercise program) to reduce the risk of another heart attack. If you had an unhealthy lifestyle before your heart attack, it is time to change your ways! Talk to your health care provider about diet, weight control, exercise, managing stress, and controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Exercise is good for your heart muscle and overall health. It can help you lose weight, keep your cholesterol and blood pressure under control, reduce stress, and lift your mood. If you participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program, you will learn how to exercise safely and regularly to strengthen your heart andy. When exercising, you will need to watch out for signs of problems such as chest pain, shortness of breath, feeling dizzy or weak, irregular heartbeats, or cold sweats. If you develop these symptoms, stop exercising and call 911 for help right away.
There are many things you can do to prevent heart disease and stay healthy. You probably already know what they are-not smoking, eating a heart healthy diet, getting plenty of regular exercise, keeping your weight under control, getting regular medical checkups, managing stress in your life, and controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol. It is also important for women to control other diseases they may have, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Daily aspirin therapy or other medical treatment may be an option for you to help prevent heart disease and heart attack. Talk to your health care provider about your risks for heart disease, appropriate screening tests, and ask what steps you can take to improve your heart health.