Myocardial Infarction or a heart attacks is the decrease or blockage of supply of blood to the heart muscles, which can lead to damage to the heart muscles & cell death due to a lack of oxygen.
A Myocardial Infarction can lead to heart failure.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
- Chest Pain described as tightness, squeezing, pinching, etc.
- Pain radiating to the left shoulder, jaw, arm, upper abdomen, back, sometimes even the right shoulder.
- Cold sweat
- An impending feeling of doom
- Anxiety & Panic
- Shortness of breath
CAUSES & RISK FACTORS FOR MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION
- High blood pressure
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Lack of exercise
- Alcohol consumption
- High level of blood cholesterol
- Medicines that can increase the blood pressure like digitalis
- Illicit drugs like cocaine
- Snake bite
- Saturated fats in food
- Genetic factors
- People with low immunity & presence of other serious complications.
COMPLICATIONS ARISING FROM MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION
- Abnormal heart rhythm or arrhythmia
- A fast heart rate or heart beat
- Heart block
- Formation of clots
- Cardiogenic shock, that is inadequate blood flow
- Pericarditis, inflammation of the fibrous sac surrounding the heart
- Bursting of blood vessels surrounding the heart
- Heart Failure, Cardiac Arrest & death.
- Physical exam: Measuring the blood pressure & pulse, above all a pale & cold body can be manifested due to vasoconstriction.
- ECG: An ECG is done by placing electrodes on the chest, they measure the electrical activity conducted by the heart, & also if there is any abnormality in the ST wave Q wave.
- Cardiac markers, that are proteins, like Troponins, are released within 4-6 hours of a heart attack & are presented at elevated levels for 2 weeks, therefore these markers can be assessed for cardiac injury.
- Angiography: A catheter is inserted into an artery whose blood flows directly to the heart, a radio-opaque dye is conducted through this catheter. Therefore, an X-ray is soon performed which shows the location of the affected/blocked arteries.
- Imaging tests like ultrasound can be conducted to rule out possibility of other conditions.
- Medications that can be given following a heart attack or to prevent a heart attack are;
- Statins, like Atorvastatin, these decrease the cholesterol level in the blood.
- Aspirin, which acts as a blood thinner.
- Drugs that are given to manage high blood pressure & related conditions, ACE inhibitors, ARBII blockers, Beta blockers, Calcium channel blockers, etc.
- Pain associated can be treated with nitroglycerin & morphine.
- Anticoagulants like warfarin are prescribed to reduce incidence of clot formation.
- A pacemaker is inserted surgically to manage the abnormal heart rhythms.
- Heart bypass surgery
- Fibrinolysis, injecting of anti-clotting agents to remove an existing clot in the arteries.
PREVENTION & MANAGEMENT OF MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION
- Weight loss/Management of obesity
- Physical exercise
- Stress management
- Stopping smoking
- Moderate or no consumption of alcohol
- A diet that is low in saturated fats
- A low cholesterol diet
- Adopting a healthy diet;
- Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids
- Olive oil
- Food that is lower in salt
- Seeds & legumes
- Refraining from heavy work
- Management of risk factors like diabetes.