A heart attack is a serious event that requires immediate medical attention.
In this lesson, we will learn about mild heart attacks and look at treatment and recovery for heart attacks.
John is out working in his yard, when suddenly he has a crushing pain in his chest. He tries to ignore it, but the pain goes down his left arm and he starts feeling short of breath. It isn’t a hot day but he suddenly feels sweaty and panicky. He calls for his wife, and when she sees him she immediately calls 911.John is experiencing classic symptoms of a heart attack, also known as myocardial infarction.
When the blood vessels that carry blood to the heart muscle are blocked, it causes a heart attack. The blockage could be due to narrowing of the arteries due to plaque buildup. Plaque is a buildup of fat and cholesterol in the blood vessels.
The blockage could also be due to a blood clot. Regardless of the cause, the heart muscle isn’t receiving enough blood, which can damage or destroy the heart muscle and result in the symptoms associated with a heart attack.Thanks to the quick actions of John’s wife, he quickly gets to the hospital to receive medical attention.
After many tests and several hours, the doctors tell John that he had a mild heart attack.A mild heart attack is when the blockage is in a small artery, doesn’t cause a complete blockage, or lasts only for a short amount of time. In a mild heart attack, a small area of the heart is affected or there is minimal permanent damage done. The term ‘mild’ is deceiving because it can still result in further heart complications and can still lead to death.A massive heart attack, on the other hand, is one in which a larger artery has a blockage, therefore affecting a larger part of the heart.
Let’s look at the treatment of mild heart attacks.
When a heart attack is suspected, taking an aspirin is recommended since many heart attacks are caused by a blood clot. Aspirin is a medication that helps to prevent further blood clotting.Nitroglycerin is another medication that is used in the treatment of heart attacks. Nitroglycerin dilates your blood vessels to allow more blood flow to the heart.
By increasing blood flow, it decreases the workload of the heart.In the emergency room they will also give you oxygen. Receiving supplemental oxygen will aid in adequate oxygenation in your blood and subsequently to your heart muscle.
If the pain continues and is severe you will likely be given morphine to relieve the pain.Once the physician confirms the diagnosis of a heart attack and determines the cause, they will work to treat the cause. If the heart attack was caused by a blood clot, they will prescribe blood thinners to help decrease the chance of further blood clots. If the artery was narrowed due to plaque, they may have to do an invasive procedure to open up the artery.
The doctor will likely prescribe cholesterol medication to help prevent further plaque buildup.The medications they prescribe will likely need to be continued in an effort to decrease the chance of another heart attack.
It will take time to recover from a heart attack, and you may not ever return to your previous level of health.
Your doctor will encourage a healthy lifestyle. This would include a heart healthy diet, weight loss, cessation of smoking, increased exercise, and stress management.The doctor may also recommend cardiac rehabilitation, which is a medically monitored exercise program. In cardiac rehabilitation, they will also provide education and training to recover and improve heart health.
Myocardial infarction, or heart attack, occurs when there is inadequate blood flow to the heart muscle. This can be due a blood clot in the vessels carrying blood to the heart muscle. Or it may be due to the buildup up of cholesterol and fat called plaque in the vessels, which narrows the arteries.
In both situations the result is decreased blood flow to the heart muscle resulting in muscle damage.A mild heart attack is when the blockage occurs in a small artery, doesn’t cause a complete blockage, or doesn’t last very long. Only a small area of the heart muscle is affected and there is only minimal permanent damage. Although it is a mild heart attack, it can still result in lifelong heart issues and even death.
A massive heart attack, occurs in a larger artery and affects a larger area of the heart.Treatment includes the use of aspirin, nitroglycerin, oxygen, and morphine. Aspirin is a medication that helps to prevent further clotting and nitroglycerin is a medication that improves blood flow to the heart. A person may require ongoing blood thinners to prevent clots or may require a procedure to open up the artery if it was due to plaque buildup.Recovery includes a healthy lifestyle which includes a healthy diet, weight loss, increased exercise, cessation of smoking, and stress management.
Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically monitored exercise and education program that is also recommended.