When the blood flow to a section of the heart is blocked, a heart attack occurs. The blockage needs to be quickly restored in order to prevent damage to the heart due to lack of oxygen, which can result in the death of that part of the heart muscle.
Most heart attacks occur because of a condition call coronary artery disease. This disease is caused by the build-up of years of fatty material known as plaque on the inside walls of the coronary arteries. Portions of the plaque can break off or rupture, which can result in the formation of a blood clot. When a clot becomes large enough, the flow of oxygen rich blood will be blocked from the heart. This results in a heart attack.
Heart attacks start slowly with the feelings of some pain and discomfort. The pain may at times come and go. The pain can include one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach. Shortness of breath may also occur. All of these symptoms can happen prior to any chest discomfort. Other symptoms can include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or light-headedness.
Failure to Diagnose and Promptly Treat Heart Disease can lead to a Heart Attack
The failure of a physician or health care professional to timely diagnose and treat coronary artery disease is medical malpractice. Diagnosis and treatment of this condition is very important when it comes to preventing a heart attack. Factors that can increase the risk of heart disease include: a history of smoking, drinking alcohol, elevated cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, or family history of heart disease. If a patient has an increased risk of heart disease, doctors need to be vigilant in their examinations and testing.
Medication, such as asprin, which keeps the arteries open so that blood can continue to circulate throughout the body, can be used to prevent or control a heart attack. Other medications can help by making the heart contract harder and slow the rhythm of fast-paced heart beats, control high blood pressure and protect the damaged heart muscle, relax blood vessels, or decrease the amount of LDL cholesterol levels in the blood.
How to Reduce Your Risk of a Heart Attack
- Lower high blood pressure
- Lose weight
- Manage diabetes
- Reduce high blood cholesterol
- Stop smoking
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