Heart | February 14, 2018 | Author: Naturopath
John, a 52-year-old male, was riding his horse on the weekend when he suddenly collapsed and fell off his horse due to a heart attack. Passers-by performed CPR until the paramedics arrived. The paramedics continued CPR before rushing John to hospital. John was lucky to have survived. At the hospital he told his doctor that he was feeling unwell that morning, describing chest heaviness and pain in his left arm. John did not think it had anything to do with his heart. He simply assumed that he pulled a muscle over the weekend and so ignored his symptoms and went riding.
According to the Heart Foundation, each year, around 54,000 Australians suffer a heart attack. It is important to recognise the warning signs of a heart attack and seek medical help immediately. The faster you get emergency treatment for a heart attack, the less damage to your heart and the greater the chances of survival.
A heart attack occurs when one of the coronary arteries that provide vital blood supply to the heart becomes blocked.
It usually happens due to build up of fatty deposits, also called plaque, in the artery wall, causing the artery to narrow. The plaque limits blood flow and the delivery of oxygen to the part of the heart served by that artery.
About three of every four heart attacks occur because of plaque rupture - Once a plaque ruptures, a blood clot can form which can block your artery completely, depriving the heart of blood and oxygen. When this happens, a portion of the heart muscle dies.
This whole process of rupture and the formation of a clot can happen in minutes.
There is no single cause for a heart attack. However, research has identified risk factors that increase your chance of developing it. Some risk factors are not in our control, but others are very much dependant on our lifestyle and can be modified.
Other risk factors
Symptoms usually occur suddenly and last for at least 10 minutes.
Jane, a 37-year-old woman, was experiencing anxiety and heavy breathing while having a heated argument with her 19-year-old son. Her husband wanted to call and ambulance, but Jane refused, thinking she was having a panic attack. When the symptoms worsened her husband eventually called an ambulance, only to find out that Jane was having a heart attack. It is a common misconception that men are at a higher risk of heart attack than women.
Indeed, until menopause, women have far fewer heart attacks than men. However, after menopause, the protective effects of oestrogen diminish and women catch-up.
In fact, Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women worldwide, and women are three times more likely to die of a heart attack than of breast cancer.
Women tend to have different symptoms or warning signs than men, and are more likely than men to be misdiagnosed. While most men complain of the ‘classic’ chest pain, some women may also experience chest pain, but are far more likely to have subtler symptoms that may even begin three or four weeks before a heart attack. Warning signs include:
Heat attack is a life-and-death emergency. Learn the warning signs and act fast; but remember, not all people who have heart attacks have the same symptoms or the same severity of symptoms. Some people may not even have any major symptoms at all. If you think you are having a heart attack, even if you are not sure it is a heart attack, call Triple Zero (000) right away in order to reduce the damage to your heart muscle and increase your chance of survival.
American Heart Association 2016. What a heart attack or stroke can feel like. Available at: https://news.heart.org/what-a-heart-attack-or-stroke-can-feel-like/
British Heart Foundation. Heart Attack - Symptoms – Prevention. Available at: https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/conditions/heart-attack
Cleveland Clinic 2017. Women or Men — Who Has a Higher Risk of Heart Attack? Available at: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2017/02/women-men-higher-risk-heart-attack/
Mayo Clinic 2017. Heart attack. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-attack/symptoms-causes/syc-20373106
The Heart Foundation Anon, Heart disease in Australia |. Available at: https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/about-us/what-we-do/heart-disease-in-australia
The Heart Foundation. Heart attack risk factors. Available at: https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/know-your-risks/heart-attack-risk-factors
The Heart Foundation. Heart attack symptoms. Available at: https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/heart-attack-symptoms