Heart Attacks Misdiagnosed
Heart attacks are a common killer in America. For some, heart attacks are unpredictable and strike like a robber in the night. But for others, they are a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode.
The key to preventing heart attacks is determining whether you are the ticking time bomb that can explode at any time. Heart studies, such as an EKG, echocardiogram and a nuclear stress test, are great ways to check the function of your heart. But the best way to check for your risk of a heart attack is often based upon your history of chest pain.
A dangerous history of unexpected and unpredictable chest pain is called unstable angina. When you have chest pain or heaviness that is unpredictable and occurs at rest or moderate physical activity, you have unstable angina. You are a ticking time bomb. With unstable angina, you must go to the ER immediately for an evaluation. The doctors at the hospital can give you medicine that will immediately relieve the pressure on your heart and dramatically lower your risk of a heart attack.
An EKG is a good screening test as the first step in an evaluation of your heart. The EKG can tell you whether you have cardiac ischemia (lack of blood flow to the heart) or whether you suffered a a heart attack (acute myocardial infarction). If the EKG shows abnormal heart rhythm, the next step is a transthoracic echocardiogram and a nuclear stress test. These tests will provide precise information about the function of your heart, such as the ability of your heart to pump blood (the "ejection fraction").
If these tests show blockages of the arteries leading to your heart, a cardiac catheterization can be done to confirm the blockage. An occlusion, or blockage, of the arteries leading to your heart is the most common cause of a heart attack. An operation to remove the plaque blocking your coronary artery can save your life. The diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery disease is crucial to preventing a heart attack.
Keep in mind, the medical specialist trained to treat your heart is a cardiologist. If you have a heart disorder, you should be treated by a cardiologist, not a primary care physician. Many primary care physicians treat heart disorders, but your best bet is always with a cardiologist.
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Heart attacks are a common killer in America. For some, a heart attack is sudden and unpredictable. But for many, a heart attack can be predicted and prevented with treatment.
How do you prevent a heart attack? The first step is evaluating your history of symptoms and complaints of chest pain and heaviness. If you have chest pain or heaviness at rest or at moderate physical exertion, you have unstable angina and you are at risk for a sudden and unpredictable heart attack. You need to get to a hospital immediately.
Tests, such as EKGs, echocardiograms and a nuclear stress test, can help evaluate the function of your heart and let you know whether you are at risk of a heart attack.
If you have a family history of heart attacks, you should pay close attention to any signs of chest pain or heaviness, particularly if the pain pattern is unpredictable and occurs at rest or moderate physical exertion.