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Do You Want To Know More About Heart Attack?

We may hear about heart attack all the time. And most of us will probably know that it is a very serious medical condition that could end the life of the victim. But, how many of us really have a good understanding of this condition?

Heart attack results when a blood clot completely blocks a coronary artery supplying blood to the heart muscle. It will cause death of part of the heart muscle. It is found that the site of blood clot formation during a heart attack is usually a cholesterol plaque on the inner wall of a coronary artery.

A heart attack can cause chest pain, heart failure and electrical instability of the heart. The electrical instability of the heart can then cause life threatening abnormal heart rhythm (also known as arrhythmia).

Normally, some warnings can be observed for a potential heart attack victim. A person with chest pain will not necessarily be qualified as a victim of heart attack, but chest pain or pressure is indeed a common symptom of heart attack. Cardiac chest pain is often vague or dull and may be described as a pressure or band-like sensation, squeezing, heaviness or other discomfort.

Heart attack often occurs from early to late morning. This is due to the higher adrenaline levels released from the adrenal glands during the morning hours. Increased adrenaline in the bloodstream can contribute to the above mentioned plaque rupture. Nevertheless, one should also note that approximately one quarter of all heart attacks is silent, that is, without chest pain. The incidence of ‘silent’ heart attacks may be much higher for diabetics.

In general, a heart attack victim may complain of any one or more of the followings:

  • chest pressure

  • sweating

  • jaw pain

  • heartburn and/or indigestion

  • arm pain (more commonly the left arm, but may be either)

  • upper back pain

  • general malaise (vague feeling of illness)

  • nausea

  • shortness of breath

The early heart attack deaths can be avoided if a bystander starts CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) within 5 minutes of the onset of ventricular fibrillation (a type of arrhythmia). CPR involves breathing for the victim and applying external chest compression to make the heart pump. When paramedics arrive, medications and/or electrical shock (cardioversion) to the heart can be administered to convert ventricular fibrillation to a normal heart rhythm. Therefore, a prompt CPR and rapid paramedic response can likely improve the survival chances from a heart attack.



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