A heart attack can strike suddenly. The symptoms of heart attack are quite common, and many people don’t initially understand that their heart are having one of them. Sometimes, there will be only ONE symptom which will make diagnosing heart attack more difficult and complicated.
But what really happens when you have a heart attack?
Heart is vital part of the body which receives plenty of oxygenated blood. The heart muscle may die if it fails to receive sufficient amount of blood. This reduction in of blood supply may occur when blockade/plaque builds up in your coronary arteries and blocks the blood’s flow to various parts your heart. These blockades/Plaques are made up by combination of cellular waste, fatty substances, cholesterol, calcium, and fibrin.
As the plaque builds up in coronary arteries it results in coronary artery spasm or atherosclerosis, which is the tightening or hardening of heart muscles and can lead to a blood clot when the plaque ruptures. Atherosclerosis can lead to coronary heart disease, which can develop a heart attack.
American Heart Association specifies that a heart attack can also occur when the blood supply cannot reach the different parts of your heart due to narrowing of heart arteries, commonly known as ischemic heart disease.
A Unusual Viewpoint on Heart Attack
In an article how heart attacks occur published in December 2014, Dr. Thomas S. Cowan who gave us a different perception on the causes of heart attacks. He mentioned that a heart attack occurs not because your coronary arteries are blocked, but some time it is result of an imbalance in the parasympathetic and sympathetic sections of human central nervous system. Dr Thomas further indicates that Stress is a major reason for the imbalance in your central nervous system. When you experience chronic stress, an emotional sensor will activate your sympathetic nervous system. When your parasympathetic nervous system does not compensate for it, this will result in an unexpected release of adrenalin, a hormone that breaks down the myocardial cells, affecting the blood flow needed by your heart. Hence, a heart attack occurs.
Distinguishing Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest
The most important to understand the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest since people are usually mistaken by considering both a similar thing. Cardiac arrest takes place due to the electrical malfunction of your heart, which causes an irregular heartbeat and usually occur without any early warning. Causes of cardiac arrest are different health reasons like cardiomyopathy or thickened heart muscle, heart failure, arrhythmias, long Q-T syndrome, and ventricular fibrillation. Whereas heart attack may increase the risk of having a cardiac arrest, and is the common reason for its occurrence.
Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack
Different people experience heart attack differently. Some people may experience mild or no symptoms of heart attack at all which known as silent heart attack. It happens mostly to people with diabetes. In order to prevent premature heart disease related death from happening to you, take note of other common symptoms of this deadly condition. Older people who may experience one or more of undermentioned symptoms usually ignore these by thinking that these are just because of overage. However, if any one of you experience one or more of these symptoms, should immediately precautionary measure to prevent likely heart attack. The most common symptoms are:-
Chest Congestion, Pain or Discomfort
This is the most common symptom when having a heart attack. Some people may experience a sudden sharp pain, while some may feel just a mild pain. This may last for a couple of minutes or up to a few hours.
Upper Body Discomfort
You may feel distress or uneasiness in your arms, back, shoulder, neck, jaw, or in the upper part of your stomach.
Shortness in breathing
Some people may experience this symptom only, or it may happen alongside chest pain.
Cold sweat, nausea, vomiting, and sudden dizziness
These symptoms are more common among women.
You may feel weary for unknown reasons, and sometimes it will last for days.
What really goes on inside your body during a heart attack?
As discussed above plaque or blockade is a reason for heart attack, if your heart has been accumulating plaque over the years, it can thicken enough to obstruct your blood flow. You might not readily notice that you already have a narrowed blood flow, because once a coronary artery becomes incapable of bringing desired level of blood to your heart, other coronary arteries expand to take care of the incapacitated artery’s job. Plaque or blockade is covered in a solid fibrous cap on the outside but its inside is soft due to its fatty contents. If the plaque in your coronary artery is ruptured, the fatty substances become exposed. Platelets rush to the plaque, forming a blood clot (the same thing that happens when you get a cut or any tear/scratch). The blood clot formed becomes the main obstruction to your blood flow. Your heart becomes starved of oxygen-rich blood, and your nervous system immediately sends signal to your brain about what is going on. You will start sweating and your heart rate will speed up. You will also feel nauseous, creepy and weak.
At the same time your nervous system sends signals to your spinal cord, your other body parts start to ache. You will start feeling an immense chest pain that slowly crawls to your neck, jaw, ears, arms, wrists, shoulder blades, back, and sometime in your abdomen. Heart attack patients say that the pain they experienced was like a clamp squeezing their chest, and may last from several minutes to many hours.
Your heart’s tissues starts dying if you’re not given proper treatment immediately. If your heart has stopped beating completely, your brain cells will die in a span of just three to seven minutes. If you are treated immediately, your heart will start to heal but the damaged tissue will never work again resulting in a permanent slow blood flow.
Risk Factors of Heart Attack
Heart disease is number 1 cause of death globally. More people die any from heart diseases. In 2016 out of 31% of all global deaths, 85% were due to heart attack and stroke. So far as United States is concerned every year, 1 in 4 Americans die from heart disease, making it one of the leading causes of death in the US also. About 735,000 Americans suffer from heart attack every year, 15 percent of which succumb to death. With these frightening statistics, you should pay close attention to the following risk factors for a heart attack:
Men who are 40 years old or older and women who are 50 years old or older are at high risk.
Prolonged exposure to second-hand smoke puts you on a high risk for cardiovascular disease.
High Levels of Cholesterol
.If you have high levels of triglycerides and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL), it is likely that you have a greater risk for a heart attack.
If not given proper attention and treatment.
Family history of heart attack
If someone in your family has a history of heart attack, than you must consider that you are be vulnerability to risk of heart attack.
Inactive or Lethargic Lifestyle
Being physically lethargic or inactive leads to increase of high bad cholesterol levels in your body which may lead to formation of plaque or blockade.
If you live with 10 percent lesser than the normal weight (including age and body structure) of your body, you also lower your risk for a heart attack.
According to a research done by German researchers once you experience stress, your white blood cell levels increase. These in turn raise your risk of developing atherosclerosis and plaque rupture.
Illegal drug use
Using illegal drugs like cocaine or amphetamines may cause coronary artery spasm.
Any person with high blood pressure are very much vulnerable to the risk of heart attack. In case of women if they have high blood pressure during pregnancy, their risk of having a heart attack is too high.
History of autoimmune disease
If you suffering from diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis or Lupus mean that you are at risk to heart attack. Under suck situation it is strongly recommended that you must visit your doctor to keep you at away from heart attack or any cardiovascular disease.
8 Ways to Prevent a Heart Attack
Most cardiovascular diseases are preventable. Following recommendations with reference to lifestyle are suggested to facilitate you in avoiding a heart attack or any heart disease:
Eat a healthy diet
A heart-healthy diet does not mean entirely avoiding fats and cholesterol. As opposed to popular belief, saturated fats and “large, fluffy” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) are actually good for your body since they are your body’s natural source for energy. You are required to avoid consumption of processed foods, refined carbs, sugar (especially fructose), and trans fats since they help increase “small” LDL, which contributes to plaque buildup. I recommend the following healthy diet planes:- 1. Focus on fresh and organic, whole foods. 2. Limit fructose consumption to 25 grams each day. If you have diabetes, hypertension, or if you’re insulin resistant, keep your fructose level below 15 grams per day. 3. Avoid artificial sweeteners. 4. Remove gluten and other allergenic foods from your meals Include naturally fermented foods in your diet like dairy and cultured vegetables 5. Balance your omega-3 to omega-6 fat ratio by eating wild-caught Alaskan salmon or taking a krill oil supplement, 6. Always drink pure water 7. Eat high-quality saturated and monounsaturated fats from pasture-raised animals and krill oil 8. Consume high-quality protein from organically raised animals 9. Eating healthy may not be enough to keep safe from a heart attack — remember, it’s also important to observe how often you eat. That being said, I recommend intermittent fasting that limits your daily eating to an eight-hour window. It helps your body reprogram itself and remember how to burn fat for energy.
It is essential that while you are loading up on healthy foods, you are also spending at least 2.5 hours per week doing exercises. I recommend doing high intensity interval exercise, as it offers many benefits not only for your heart but also for your general health and overall wellness. But be sure that you rest after each session to achieve best results.
Most studies suggest that smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular diseases. Quitting smoking as a measure to prevent cardiovascular diseases, is one of the important step to prevent a heart attack. Smoking causes your blood vessels to narrow and thicken. It also causes blood clots to form that may lead to blood flow blockage to your heart.
Avoid alcohol consumption
Alcohol is high in empty calories and actually makes you fat. Drinking alcohol stops your body from burning fats and calories. As a result, the food that you just ate becomes stored fat. Alcohol also damages your prefrontal cortex, which promotes impulsive eating. In order to maintain optimal health, I suggest eradicating all forms of alcohol from your lifestyle.
Sit as little as possible
Long hours of sitting have detrimental effects on your health such as a 50 percent increased risk of lung cancer and 90 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes. To maintain an active lifestyle at home or even at work, I recommend walking 7,000 to 10,000 steps each day. Using a fitness tracker like Jawbone’s Up3 also helps track all your activities for the whole day.
Optimize your vitamin D levels
It is essential that you have your vitamin D levels tested annually as a deficiency of this vitamin increases your risk for a heart attack by 50 percent. In order to get its health benefits, you must maintain a level of 40 ng/ml or 5,000-6,000 IUs per day. I highly recommend sun exposure as your best source of vitamin D, although some foods and vitamin D3 supplements are considered to be good sources as well.
Walking Bare Feet (Try grounding/Earthling).
Walking bare foot transfers free electrons, which are potent antioxidants, from the earth to your body. Grounding also reduces inflammation throughout your body, as it thins your blood and fills you with negatively charged ions.
Remain Stress Free
According to a study that published revealed that when you’re stressed, your body releases norepinephrine. This hormone causes the dispersal of bacterial biofilms that result in plaque rupture. Therefore it is strongly recommend to undertaking Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to manage your stress. EFT is known as, an energy psychology tool that helps reset your body’s reaction in times of stress. This can reduce your risk of developing chronic illnesses.
For a good and quality life, it is necessary to keep your heart healthy which will make your life more enjoyable and fruitful. It is to be kept in mind that these wholesome, commonsense strategies so you can avoid a heart attack and keep your cardiovascular system performing at its best.