Your heart is one of the hardest working muscles in your body, constantly pumping blood through the arteries, veins, and capillaries that make up your circulatory system. Any decrease in the blood supply to the heart can weaken that crucial muscle and lead to serious conditions like myocardial infarction — the medical term for a heart attack.
While many factors can add up to myocardial infarction, the main cause is the buildup of cholesterol and other cellular waste products in the arteries. This sticky substance, known as plaque, attaches to the walls of the arteries, narrowing the area where blood can flow. Serious complications can occur when plaque builds up enough to block the artery, severely diminishing blood flow. Plaque can also rip, causing a clot that blocks blood flow entirely.
Myocardial infarction can happen at any time, but most commonly occurs when you are resting or sleeping, after an increase in physical activity, during times of severe stress, or when you are outside in cold weather.
Heart Attack Treatment
Common symptoms of heart attacks include:
- Chest pain
- Pain in the shoulder, upper arm, jaw or neck
- Back pain
- Pressure or tightness in the chest
- Shortness of breath
If you have these symptoms, call 9-1-1 or have someone drive you to the nearest emergency room immediately. Do not try to drive yourself. People who receive immediate treatment for heart attacks often have a good chance of survival.
Acute treatment for myocardial infarction involves surgery. In some cases, a doctor will perform angioplasty to open narrow or blocked blood vessels, and will then insert a stent to expand the coronary artery. In others, patients require heart bypass (open heart) surgery. When you leave the hospital, your doctor will likely prescribe medications to help prevent future heart attacks, along with encouraging you to make healthy lifestyle changes such as exercising, quitting smoking and eating a healthy diet.
If you think you might be at risk for myocardial infarction, visit your doctor. A physician can perform tests to determine your risk of heart attack and help you develop a prevention plan.
Get the Best Treatment
Myocardial infarction is a serious condition that requires immediate and ongoing treatment by experienced physicians and cardiologists. Talk to the doctors at Brookhaven Heart today to find out what treatment options are available and how we can help you prevent and recover from this disease.