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Myocardial infarction: symptoms, causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

myocardial infarction, better known as a heart attack, occurs when one of the arteries responsible for supplying oxygen to the heart becomes blocked. This obstruction can cause different conditions that we will explain in this article, such as atherosclerosis, a disease in which the arteries accumulate fat, making it more difficult for the blood to pass. However, several risk factors can significantly increase the risk of having a heart attack, especially when several are present. In this FastlyHealarticle, we inform you about the symptoms, treatment, and risk factors that must be taken into account to reduce the chances of suffering a myocardial infarction, one of the leading causes of death among men and women worldwide.

Functioning of the heart

The heart is the organ pumping blood throughout the body to supply oxygen. It is made up of a muscle mass that we call myocardium, made up of muscle tissue. It functions independently of our will, unlike the other muscles of the body, which contract when we perform some movement. For this reason, myocardial infarction means that one of its muscles has stopped working correctly as it does not receive the blood supply it needs, and, as a consequence, oxygen cannot be supplied correctly throughout the body. When one of the arteries that supply blood to the heart becomes blocked, the blood cannot circulate, and necrosis begins to occur in the heart muscle., which implies the death of muscle tissue.

Symptoms of myocardial infarction

Knowing when a heart attack is going to occur is almost impossible. However, several signs alert us that it will take place imminently, while others give even months in advance. The main symptoms of myocardial infarction are:

  • Chest pain. It is the most easily recognizable symptom when a heart attack is about to occur. Chest pain usually lasts for 15 minutes and can radiate to other body areas such as the back and shoulders. The pain may be intermittent; it appears and disappears at times, which does not imply that the heart attack will not occur. In addition, the intensity of the pain can vary, being more mild or intense. It is essential to seek the help of a medical professional to intervene as soon as possible.
  • Breathing difficulties and fatigue. This symptom is the only one that can occur months before a heart attack occurs, although it is never usually related to the possibility of suffering it. It is more common in women and is characterized by feeling more tired than usual, accompanied by breathing difficulties, known as dyspnea. Another symptom should convince us to go for a medical check-up and avoid scares.
  • Excessive sweating. The heart attack occurs due to the progressive formation of a clot that ends up obstructing one of the heart’s arteries. For this reason, the heart muscle must over-exert itself to get enough blood pumping to supply oxygen to the whole body, which generates more sweating.
  • Dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Other symptoms could alert us to the possible appearance of a heart attack. It is also one of the most common that we can experience, and we associate it with causes of little gravity. Many people suffer from these symptoms, and it has nothing to do with a heart attack.

Causes of myocardial infarction

This is one of the essential parts to consider to prevent a heart attack. Most heart attacks are the result of unhealthy lifestyle habits. Therefore, it is essential to bear in mind that having several of the risk factors for myocardial infarction can considerably increase the chances of suffering one:

  • Hypertension. Hypertension causes vulnerability of the coronary arteries due to the increase in blood pressure and generates overexertion of the heart. Diet plays a vital role at this point, so knowing the prohibited foods for hypertensive patients is essential.
  • High cholesterol. It is one of the problems that has been given the most talk in the last decade, and it is no wonder. The accumulation of bad cholesterol in the blood causes inflammation in the internal walls of the arteries, facilitating the obstruction caused by heart attacks. Therefore, you can consult the causes of cholesterol and its treatment, contributing to its disappearance.
  • Snuff. It is the most important cardiovascular risk factor, raising three times the chances of suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
  • Obesity . Obesity is accompanied by cholesterol and high blood pressure, which is another considerable risk that increases the chances of suffering a myocardial infarction, in addition to being more prone to developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Sedentary. Sitting for most of the day is normal: at work, in the car, on the couch at home, when eating, etc. Lack of physical activity is related to an increased risk of being overweight and hypertensive and, therefore, suffering a myocardial infarction.
  • Elderly . As the years go by, the risk of suffering a heart attack also increases due to the deterioration of the arteries, circulation problems, etc.

Treatment of myocardial infarction

Prevention is essential when it comes to a heart attack. For this reason, it is necessary to seek medical attention as soon as symptoms are detected that may alert us that a heart attack is going to occur. When healthcare personnel is present, they will assess the treatment to be applied through an electrocardiogram. Also, medications and oxygen are often given to allow proper blood circulation and relieve pain. Patients who have suffered a heart attack usually require a prescription for life to facilitate blood circulation and avoid the formation of clots and overexertion of the heart.

If a person is suffering a heart attack, they must react as follows:

  • Stay calm and take charge of the situation. A heart attack can occur at any time, and when it happens, we must know how to react.
  • Help the person. We must place the person in a position where they are comfortable and can breathe without difficulty. If it is conscious, we can incorporate it; If he is unconscious, we must find out if he is living and, if so, place the person in a lateral safety position. This position is based on the person’s color from the side, in such a way that his cheek touches the ground, and the mouth looks down to avoid any fluid obstructing the airway. The chin should be tilted towards the top of the head to facilitate breathing.
  • Immediately call 911 for an ambulance and ask for help since a medical professional or someone who knows first aid techniques may be present.
  • While we wait for the ambulance to arrive, we try to find out if the person has already suffered a heart attack, since if so, they likely carry their medication with them. If so, we must put a pill under the tongue, and if the heart attack does not pass in 10 minutes, we place another, up to a maximum of 3 in total every 10 minutes. If the person suffering from a heart attack does not have any medication, it is advisable to give them aspirin since it acts as an anticoagulant, but we must make sure that they are not allergic.
  • If the person is not breathing, we must perform the pulmonary resuscitation maneuver to supply oxygen.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Myocardial infarction: symptoms, causes and treatment , we recommend entering our category of Blood, heart and circulation .

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