Myocardial Infarction Symptoms
Myocardial infarction is most commonly known as a “heart attack”. This is a life threatening situation that occurs when the muscle of the heart is deprived of oxygen, causing the permanent damage to the heart through death of the tissue. According to the National Library of Medicine (www.nlm.nih.gov) one out of every five deaths is due to myocardial infarction, which is a major cause of sudden death in adults. Most myocardial infarctions are caused by clots that block blood and oxygen flow through the coronary arteries and to the heart. These clots are caused by plaque build up in the blood vessels, known as atherosclerosis, and constricting of blood vessels due to smoking and hypertension. Incidence of myocardial infarction is directly related to gender, age, heredity, and chronic diseases, such as diabetes. Obesity is directly related to atherosclerosis and diabetes, both of which are major risk factors for myocardial infarction.
Classic symptoms of a myocardial infarction include chest pain that radiates to the arms, shoulders, back, neck, jaws, and teeth that can be accompanied by abdominal pain and nausea. Sweating, dizziness, and shortness of breath, in addition to feelings of impending doom are quite common during a heart attack. A feeling of squeezing or heavy pressure across the chest is also a cardinal symptom of a myocardial infarction. In the elderly or people with diabetes, quiet heart attacks or very subtle and occur with very few symptoms. Chest pain that is relieved by rest or nitroglycerin is called angina, which is caused by too little blood flow to the heart and can be apparent during periods of strenuous physical activity. There are various ways to detect that a myocardial infarction has occurred even if symptoms were mild. There may be obvious physical signs such as irregular heart rate, high or low blood pressure, or elevated levels of certain enzymes in the blood.
A myocardial infarction is a medical emergency and should be treated as such, even if symptoms are mild. Maybe it is only a little gastric upset, but if it is accompanied by any of the other symptoms, then emergency assistance should be called immediately. Medications can be administered to stop the heart attack and regulate the heart rate; which if not brought under control immediately following could cause death. For more information on myocardial infarction, risk factors, symptoms, and treatment, visit any number of online resources as well as your primary care physician. Being aware of the symptoms could just save your life or someone else’s.