Heart attack is one of the most common illnesses, especially in the elderly. All you need to do is understanding about its symptoms, risk factors and how to prevent it.
What is a heart attack?
A heart attack occurs when there is a blockage in a blood vessel that affects the blood flow that carries oxygen to the heart.
A heart attack is a medical emergency. Blockage or reduction of blood flow to the heart damages the heart muscle. According to the Cleveland Clinic, if blood flow is not restored quickly, the heart muscle will begin to die.
Signs and symptoms of a heart attack
The symptoms of a heart attack can vary from person to person. It can be serious if you have a severe heart attack, in which a blood clot clogs the entire arteries leading to your heart.
Common symptoms of a heart attack include:
• Chest pain
• Pain or discomfort in the jaw or neck
• Pain or discomfort in the arms, shoulders or back
• Indigestion or choking
• Shortness of breath
• Sweating, especially cold sweat
• Nausea or vomiting
• Vomiting or dizziness
• Rapid or irregular heartbeat
Sudden chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack, but not all people experience it. Some people have mild symptoms that occur gradually.
Causes and risk factors for heart attack
There are three common risk factors for heart disease that can put you at higher risk for heart attack:
• High blood pressure
• High blood cholesterol or triglycerides
Other factors that increase the risk of heart attack include:
• A man 45 years of age or older
• Women 55 years and older
• People with diabetes
• Family history of heart disease
• Lack of physical activity
• Use of recreational stimulant drugs (including cocaine and amphetamines)
• Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
How to prevent a heart attack
You can prevent a heart attack by managing a number of risk factors and choosing a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle involves not smoking, getting enough exercise and preparing a nutritious diet that includes vegetables, fruits, good fiber and lean protein sources. You should drink alcohol in moderation and try to reduce or manage stress.