What is heart attack?
Heart attack is otherwise known as myocardial infarction (MI) which is a condition that results to permanent damage to the heart muscle. The term is divided into “myo” which means muscle, “cardial” which means heart and “infarction” which means tissue death secondary to lack of blood supply.
It only takes a little time before the cells of the heart muscle dies which causes permanent damage. This is what causes a heart attack although at times it can be a result of coronary artery spasm even in the absence of plaque which will result to the reduction of blood supply.
After an heart attack, the healing of the heart muscle takes about eight weeks to heal. However, the scar tissue formed during the healing process will not contract resulting to the impairment of contractility of the heart.
Common heart attack symptoms include –
- Vague discomfort, feeling of pressure or heaviness and not localized pain in the chest or below the breastbone as well as weakness of the arm.
- Discomfort may radiate to the throat, back and jaw
- Choking feeling, heartburn, sensation of satiety or indigestion
- Dizziness, nausea, vomiting and sweating
- Shortness of breath, anxiety or extreme weakness
- Irregular heartbeats or tachycardia
However, the symptoms of heart attack vary considerably from person to person. The severity will also vary depending on the threshold of the person to pain or discomfort.
It is important to note that symptoms of a “true” heart attack may last for 30 minutes or even longer. Symptoms are not relieved simply by rest or nitroglycerin administered beneath the tongue. But, it is more important to bear in mind that some people may have heart attack without even becoming aware that they are. These people don’t manifest the symptoms of heart attack although this is more common among those who are suffering diabetes.