The medical term for a heart attack is myocardial infarction. It is caused by an interruption of the blood supply to a part of the heart. It is a serious ailment; it can be debilitating or even fatal.
In the United States alone, over 1 million people a year have a heart attack. Most heart attacks are preventable with simple changes in lifestyle. Even if you have lived to excess (e.g., smoking, drinking, overeating, etc.), it’s never too late to make the changes that will save your life.
According the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
Heart attacks are a leading killer of both men and women in the United States. Each year, about 1.1 million people in the United States have heart attacks, and almost half of them die. Fortunately, today there are excellent treatments that can save lives and prevent disabilities.
Heart Attack Symptoms
Occasionally a heart attack may occur without symptoms; the only way to diagnose this is through regular checkups. In addition, women typically have less or milder symptoms than men. But if you have a heart attack you may experience some or all of these symptoms:
- Pain which last more than 10 minutes and does not go away with rest
- Irregular heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
Heart Attack Treatment
People often mistake heart attack symptoms for other problems such as indigestion or heartburn; however, if you suspect you may have a heart attack you must take it seriously and seek medical attention right away. The usual treatment for heart attack is medication prescribed by your health provider. In extremely serious cases surgery, such as bypass surgery, is necessary.
Common Causes of Heart Attack
Knowing what can cause heart attacks can help you prevent them from happening. Here are some of the main culprits:
- Lack of exercise
- Smoking tobacco
- High blood pressure
- Excessive drinking (alcohol)
- Extremely high levels of air pollution
- Drugs like cocaine and amphetamines
- High stress levels
Seniors, take heed. If you keep fit, watch your weight, don’t smoke, live moderately, and stay indoors when there’s a lot of air pollution, your risk of having a heart attack will be much lower.
If you think you might be having a heart attack (based on the symptoms listed above), get immediate attention. The sooner treatment starts after having a heart attack, the more likely you will be to have a full and complete recovery.