Heart Attack – Causes, Risks and Treatments

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Heart attack

A hazardous condition known as a myocardial infarction, also called a heart attack, arises when the blood flow to your heart muscle is interrupted. A blockage in your heart’s arteries is the common reason, even though there are many other possible ones. 

Lack of blood supply would cause the damaged heart muscle to degenerate. If blood flow is not restored immediately and efficiently after a heart attack, permanent cardiac damage and even the occurrence of death are possible.

During a heart attack, blood flow to a section of your heart stops or is drastically reduced, killing or damaging that section of your heart muscle. If a portion of your heart is not able to pump because it is dying from alleviated blood flow, the entire cycle of pumping your heart might get hampered. This results in reduced or even stopped blood flow to the rest of your body, which could be fatal if it is not repaired immediately.


There are various symptoms of heart attack, some of which are more prevalent than others. Males are most commonly found to be affected by the symptoms of heart attack when compared to women.

They might feel heavy or uncomfortable, or it could be severe and feel excruciatingly painful. Your left arm (or both arms), jaw, shoulder, back, neck or down towards your waist might all experience it after starting in your chest.

  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Nausea or stomach discomfort
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Feeling lightheaded, dizzy or passing out
  • A feeling of impending doom or anxiety
  • Heart attacks are often mistaken for indigestion or heartburn
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
Symptoms of heart attack


An obstruction in one of the blood vessels that aids in supplying your heart is the main cause of the majority of heart attacks. Plaque is a sticky substance that could accumulate inside your arteries, causing it to occur more frequently. This accumulation is called Atherosclerosis.

The corony (heart) arteries rupture when plaque deposits inside it . A blood clot might become lodged where the rupture took place. A heart attack might result from the clot blocking the artery, which could rob blood forthe heart muscles.

While heart attacks without blockage are possible, they are certainly uncommon and mostly only 5% of heart attacks occur this way. Some other possible causes of heart attack could be: 

  • Coronary artery spasm
  • Electrolyte imbalance

Uncommon medical conditions: Any illness that results in the narrowing of blood vessels would serve as an illustration of this.

Trauma: This includes arteries in the heart that are torn or ruptured.

A blockage that originated from another part of your body: Embolism, which is an air bubble or blood clot that might become lodged in a coronary artery.

Eating disorders: These, over time, could harm your heart and lead to a heart attack.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for heart attacks include:

Age: Compared to younger men and women, elderly men and women are more prone to heart attacks.

Tobacco Use: Both smoking and prolonged use of second-hand smoke could put you at risk.

Elevated blood pressure: Over time, high blood pressure might cause damage to the arteries that lead to the heart. When diabetes, high cholesterol, or obesity coexist with high blood pressure, the risk is significantly much higher.

High triglyceride or cholesterol levels: A high amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), sometimes referred to as bad cholesterol, is the major cause of arterial narrowing. Excessive blood triglyceride levels might also increase the risk of heart attack. Possible alleviation in the risk of a heart attack.

Obesity: High triglyceride, diabetes, low good cholesterol levels, and bad cholesterol levels are all associated with obesity.

Diabetes: When the body isn’t properly utilising the hormone insulin or doesn’t produce enough of it, blood sugar levels might shoot up. Heart attacks are more likely when blood sugar levels are always high.

Metabolic Syndrome: Central obesity, low good cholesterol, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and excessive blood sugar are all present in this condition. You are twice as likely to have heart disease if you have metabolic syndrome than if you don’t.

Family history: You might be at high risk if a sibling, parent, grandparent, or other close relative experienced a heart attack before the age of 55 for men and 65 for women.

Stress: Stress caused by extreme emotions, including rage, can increase your risk of having a heart attack.

Illegal use of drugs: Stimulants include cocaine and amphetamines. They might result in a heart attack by causing a spasm in the coronary artery.

Pre-eclampsia: During pregnancy, this syndrome raises blood pressure. It raises the risk of heart disease in the long term.

An autoimmune disorder: A heart attack could become more likely if you have lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

Unhealthy diet : Heart attacks are likely to occur in individuals who eat diet rich in animal fats , sweets, processed foods, trans fats, and salt. Consume lots of fruits, veggies, fibre, and good fats for a healthy diet.

Inadequate exercise : Heart attacks are more likely to occur in individuals who lead sedentary lifestyles and zero physical activity. Heart health is improved by practising regular exercise.


Heart attacks are typically diagnosed by medical professionals in an emergency room scenario. Anyone showing heart attack symptoms should have a physical examination immediately.

A medical professional might use the following to identify a heart attack:

Your health professional will ask about your previous medical history and current symptoms. They may even ask a friend who was there to give them a description.

Blood tests: A chemical marker called cardiac troponin, which is produced when heart muscle cells are destroyed after a heart attack, almost always appears in your blood. Blood tests that look for that signal are one of the most reliable ways to spot a heart attack.

Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG): An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is one of the first tests you get when you go to the ER with heart attack symptoms.

Echocardiography uses ultrasound (high-frequency sound waves) to produce a picture of your heart’s interior and exterior.

Angiogram: An angiogram reveals regions with reduced or no blood flow.

Computed tomography (CT): Using computed tomography (CT), your heart is scanned in great detail.


In order to treat a heart attack, the wounded cardiac muscle should get blood flow as soon as possible. This could be accomplished through surgery and medication. Most likely, the treatment will include some of the following methods.

Supplementary oxygen

Supplementary oxygen is frequently given along with other heart attack therapies to individuals who have challenges in breathing or have low blood oxygen levels. 


The category of anti-clotting drugs includes blood thinning treatments and aspirin.

Nitroglycerin: This medication eases and widens blood arteries to allow for much easier blood flow and chest discomfort

Medication known as thrombolytics (clot-busters): Only within the first 12 hours following a heart attack do providers use them.

Medications for treating arrhythmias: Arrhythmias, which can be fatal, are irregularities in your heart’s regular beating rhythm that are frequently brought on by heart attacks. These malfunctions can be stopped by using anti-arrhythmia drugs.

Pain killers: Morphine is the most commonly prescribed painkiller for heart attack treatment. Chest pain is usually alleviated by taking this.

Percutaneous coronary intervention: With a treatment known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), doctors bring blood flow back to your injured heart muscle. A catheter-based device is inserted into a major blood artery, typically one in the upper thigh or wrist.

The more quickly PCI is used to reestablish blood flow, the higher the likelihood of a successful procedure.

Coronary artery bypass grafting: People who have substantial coronary artery blockages may have coronary artery bypass surgery. Bypass surgery, open-heart surgery, or CABG (the abbreviation is pronounced “cabbage”) are some of the familiar names for this procedure.


There are various ways to alleviate your chance of having a heart attack. Tips to prevent heart attack include:

  • Avoiding or quitting smoking.
  • Consuming a balanced, healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise are major keys to controlling illnesses such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and others.
  • Trying to keep a healthy weight, avoiding stress or finding ways to cope with it. Also, avoidance of alcohol reduces incidence.

A person’s chances of a successful recovery are high if they receive immediate care after learning the initial signs of a heart attack.

Best Cardiac Health Insurance Plan

The main objective of health insurance for heart patients in India is to minimise the financial burden and help policyholders avail themselves of quality heart-related treatments like coronary bypass surgery, stent, or any complicated surgery.

The Star Cardiac Care Insurance Policy provides hospitalisation coverage along with several benefits and ensures a safe financial net with prominent sum insured options to choose from during unforeseen emergencies.


To avoid long-term heart damage, a clogged artery needs to be treated immediately. You might believe that if your symptoms aren’t severe and powerful, a heart attack isn’t happening to you. But it’s best to have your symptoms examined by your doctor. 


What are the complications of a heart attack?

Complications associated with heart attack include:
– Heart failure
– Heart valve problems
– Sudden cardiac arrest
– Arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms)
– Depression and anxiety
– Ventricular septal defect or free wall rupture

How do heart attacks feel?

Chest discomfort, often referred to as a sense of pressure, heaviness, tightness, or squeezing across your chest, is some of the signs of a heart attack. It might feel as though the pain is extending from your chest to your arms—typically your left, although it could also affect both arms—jaw, neck, back, and stomach.


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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