What Is a HEART Attack?
A heart attack happens when the blood flow to heart is suddenly reduced or cut off or stops to part of the heart as it carries oxygen to the heart. During a heart attack, heart muscle doesn’t get the oxygen it needs. Without oxygen, muscle can be damaged or destroyed. Getting your blood flow restored quickly is the key to recovery. Get medical aid right away if you think you’re having symptoms of a heart attack.
Doctors divide heart failure cases into four levels of increasing severity:
I: Physical activity is unaffected, and the patient has no unusual fatigue, shortness of breath, palpitations, or pain during normal activities.
II: Slight limitations on normal activities as patient may experience mild fatigue, shortness of breath, palpitations, or pain during normal activities; no symptoms at rest.
III: Marked limitation on normal activities as patient experiences fatigue, shortness of breath, palpitations, or pain during less than normal activities at the same time no symptoms at rest.
IV: Patient is uncomfortable even at rest and discomfort increases with any physical activity.
Doctors also classify heart failure according to whether it is primarily a problem of pumping blood out of the heart due to a weakened heart muscle, or if patient has problems primarily with filling the heart due to a stiff heart muscle (also called heart failure with normal ejection fraction). Heart failure with normal ejection fraction now accounts for almost half of the heart failure seen in the U.S. and is the dominant type of heart failure seen in elderly. Contrary to its name, congestive heart failure does not mean the heart has failed completely. It means the heart is pumping inefficiently and no longer can meet the body’s need for blood. This inefficient pumping causes a backup of blood in the veins leading to the heart and causes kidney to keep fluid as a result body’s tissues swell. Swelling (edema) most commonly affects the legs, but can also occur in the lungs, causing breathing difficulty, and in other tissues and organs.
The most common CAUSES of heart failure are:
- Coronary artery disease (narrowing or hardening of arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle, usually caused by a buildup of fats and cholesterol)
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Many patients with heart failure have both coronary artery disease and hypertension.
- Heart failure may also be caused by other conditions that weaken or interfere with the heart’s function, including:
- Previous heart attack
- Heart valve disease
- Dysfunction of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy)
- Heart defects present at birth
- Infection of the heart valves or muscle (endocarditis or myocarditis)
- Cardiac arrhythmias (problems with the heart rate and/or rhythm)
- Exposure to toxins, including excessive alcohol
- Diabetes mellitus, Hyperthyroidism, and chronic (long-lasting) lung disease also increase the risk of congestive heart failure.
- Chronic kidney disease
- Dyslipidemia/ high levels blood cholesterol (abnormal levels of lipoproteins in the blood), particularly high low-density lipoprotein, low high-density lipoprotein, high triglycerides and obesity.
In some people with congestive heart failure, heart muscles become weaker and cannot pump as well. In other, muscles become stiff and the heart cannot fill with enough blood between heartbeats. A buildup of cholesterol and a fatty material called plaque in artery walls usually causes a heart attack. The buildup of plaque normally takes years. Most heart attacks happen when plaque breaks off your artery wall. A blood clot then forms around the broken-off plaque, blocking the artery.
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