Cardiovascular Diseases


Heart attack:
A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is interrupted. This prevents oxygen from reaching the heart muscle, which can damage or destroy the tissues of the organ.
Where the heart, like all other organs and tissues in the body, requires a blood supply, and it is supplied with blood through blood vessels called "coronary arteries", and the coronary arteries are located on the outside of the heart muscle before entering the heart muscle itself.

A heart attack occurs if the flow of oxygen-rich blood to part of the heart muscle suddenly stops and the heart cannot get oxygen, as:

  • Most heart attacks occur as a result of ischemic heart disease (a condition in which fatty deposits called fatty plaques build up) inside the coronary arteries, which is known as atherosclerosis. Lack of blood to the heart leads to damage or death of the heart muscle and is called a "heart attack" or "myocardial infarction".
  • The least common cause of a heart attack is severe spasm in the coronary artery, which leads to a stoppage of blood flow through the artery, as the spasm may be related to drug use (such as cocaine), stress or pain, exposure to extreme cold, or smoking.
  • Lack of oxygen in the blood due to carbon monoxide poisoning or loss of normal lung function, and deoxygenated blood reaches the heart, which leads to damage to heart muscles and a heart attack.

Risk factors:

  • Getting old.
  • Sex, as men are more likely to have heart attacks than women, and men experience attacks early in life.
  • Family history.
  • Smoking.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Hypertension.
  • Obesity and weight gain.
  • Diabetic.
  • Lack of physical activity.

Some heart attacks are sudden and severe, but most heart attacks start slowly and are accompanied by mild pain or discomfort. Other symptoms can include:

  • Feeling of pressure or discomfort in the chest.
  • Chest pain and a feeling of pressure (such as being pressed by a heavy object) and the pain may spread from the chest to the jaw, neck, arms and back.
  • Cold sweat and nausea.
  • Palpitations, dizziness and fainting.

Symptoms of a heart attack in women can be less severe, often confused with indigestion.

When to see a doctor:
Some heart attacks are sudden and severe, but most start slowly with mild pain or discomfort so see the doctor if you experience:

  • Chest discomfort, especially in the middle of the chest, that lasts for more than a few minutes or may go away and come back.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath, which may occur with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs (e.g.: cold sweats, nausea, or dizziness).


  • Early treatment of a heart attack can prevent or limit damage to the heart muscle, so action must be taken at the first symptoms of a heart attack. Certain treatments usually begin immediately if a heart attack is suspected, even before the diagnosis is confirmed by a doctor. These include:
  • Aspirin to prevent further blood clotting
  • Nitroglycerin to reduce the workload of the heart and improve blood flow through the coronary arteries
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Chest pain treatment

Once a diagnosis of a heart attack is confirmed or strongly suspected, doctors begin treatment immediately to try to restore blood flow through the blood vessels that supply the heart. The two main treatments are clot-busting drugs and a stent to open blocked coronary arteries.

It should start early in life, by:

  • Quit Smoking.
  • Control of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
  • Practicing an active lifestyle and good healthy nutrition.

Post-heart attack instructions:

  • Medical follow-up and taking the medications prescribed by the doctor.
  • Lifestyle changes (such as eating a healthy diet, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, and quitting smoking).
  • Most people without chest pain, discomfort, or other problems can safely return to most of their normal activities within a few weeks, as they can start walking right away.
  • Talk to a specialist when you sometimes feel depressed and have difficulty adjusting to new lifestyle changes.
  • Joining a support group may help patients adjust to life after a heart attack.

Last Update : 24 August 2023 12:19 PM
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