Our muscle in our heart needs oxygen to continue working. It gets oxygen in the blood, pumped through the arteries to the heart. If arteries are blocked, a heart attack occurs which prevents oxygen from reaching parts of the heart. The artery spasm caused by smoking or taking drugs may also disrupt the blood flow to the heart and cause a heart attack. Minutes later several parts of the heart begin to die. The earlier we can open the blocked artery, and restore blood flow, the greater our survival chances.
Signs and Symptoms
In the days or weeks that lead to a heart attack, some people will experience chest pain (angina) and some people will have no warning signs at all.
Angina is a heart pain that feels like a pulling or pressure in your abdomen. It’s a symptom of heart disease where cholesterol build-up lining your arteries blocks the heart’s flow of blood and oxygen. Angina pain may last for around 10 minutes, and may spread to your neck, back, or back. Angina does not cause permanent heart damage but it is a big warning sign of blocks the arteries.
As well as chest pain, at the onset of a heart attack you may also experience the following:
- Cold sweat or nausea.
- Pain that spreads to one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Heart attacks are rare in men under 45 (although they are rising for that age group), and as you get older, the chances of having a heart attack increase.
- Persons with overweight, cigarettes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes are at greater risk of a heart attack.
- Risk of heart attack will run in your family. So if someone has had a heart attack in your immediate family then the chances of having one are higher.
If you have any chest pain, or are at high risk for heart disease, see your doctor right away. The doctor will:
- Talk about risk factors
- Listen to your heart
- Take your blood pressure
- Check your cholesterol levels and submit blood tests.
If you are at risk of a heart attack, the doctor will recommend changes in lifestyle and supplements for men to reduce the risk. We may also prescribe drugs to thin the blood and lower the risk of blockages.
If you have a heart attack it will affect the heart, causing irregular heartbeats or heart failure. Cardiac insufficiency is when the heart is not strong enough to pump blood across your body. By this time, you’re going to be talking to you in a hospital bed and cardiologist’s care with treatment options.
We have to look after our hearts so they don’t get to this point.