Community Corner

Heart Attack

If you are having symptoms of chest pain it is important for your to know the types of chest pain that are serious such as heart attack, blood clot in the lung called pulmonary embolism or PE for short, Aortic Dissection or ruptured the aortic vessel that require that you call the ambulance to get to the nearest emergency department quickly, from other kinds of chest pains that do not require such urgent attention such a pulled muscle.

In this section we will talk about heart attack.

What are the signs and symptoms of a heart attack?

Typical signs include: Chest pressure or chest tightness, it may go down the left arm (less frequently to the right arm or to both arms), or pain radiating to the neck or jaw.

The chest pain may come and go, it may last few minutes or it may persist until treated in the emergency department.

Do not let the severity of your chest pain fool you as it can be mild, moderate or severe.

What are the associated symptoms can accompany the chest pain?

The chest pain may be associated with shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, vomiting, light headiness or dizziness, heart palpitations, syncope, or abdominal pain.

What are risk factors that may predispose someone to have a heart that you should be aware of?

Risk factors for heart disease include: diabetes, high blood pressure also known as hypertension, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking, heart disease, a family history of heart disease especially if that family member had their heart disease at age 55 or younger, obesity, older age, peripheral artery disease, and carotid artery disease.

Some of the risk factors you can prevent, modify or slow down include: High blood pressure, obesity, and high cholesterol.

Keep in mind that a person may have a heart attack without prior knowledge of any of the above-mentioned risk factor.

What conditions or situation can bring on a heart attack?

These include any conditions that can cause additional stress to the heart: Anemia, thyroid problems, and any stress – whether it comes in the form of physical exertion, a stressful situation, emotional stress, and cold weather.

How is chest pain from heart disease evaluated?

  • History you give to the doctor
  • Physical exam performed by the doctor
  • EKG
  • Chest x-ray
  • Cardiac enzymes (blood tests), which come from the heart muscle that are released into the blood stream when the heart muscle is damaged.
  • Echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of the heart
  • Cardiac catheterization

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