Definition, Causes, Symptoms And Treatment Of Heart Attack

Heart attack is most commonly caused by a sudden obstruction of the blood supply to part of the heart muscle. It is a sudden illness or obstruction in the coronary artery (coronary thrombosis) that disturbs the breathing. The main risk is that the heart will stop beating.

The effect of a heart attack depends largely on how much of the heart muscle is affected; many casualties recover completely. Heart attack is also caused by Cardio Vascular disease called ATHEROSCLEROSIS (This is the build up of plague caused by cholesterol and other debris that narrows the arteries (clot)). Drug such as aspirin is used to dissolve the blood clot and limit the extent of damage to the heart muscle.

Causes of Heart Attack
  • Blood clot in the coronary artery located in the heart
  • High blood pressure
  • Hypertension
  • Overlabouring the heart.
  • The size of the heart and the size of the body.

Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attack
  • Persistent crushing of central chest often spreading to the jaw, neck and down one or both arms towards the left hand side where the heart is located
  • Breathlessness, and discomfort occurring high in the abdomen, which may feel similar to severe indigestion
  • Strain in the heart
  • Sudden faintness or dizziness
  • A sense of impending doom
  • Collapse, often without any warning
  • “Ashen” skin, and blueness at the lips
  • A rapid, weak, or irregular pulse
  • Profuse sweating, cool, clammy skin
  • Extreme gasping for air i.e. hair hunger

Treatment of Heart Attack
  • Make the casualty as comfortable as possible to ease the strain on his heart. A half-sitting position, with the casualty’s head and shoulders well supported and his knees bent.
  • If the casualty is fully conscious, give him a full dose (300mg) aspirin tablet and advise him to chew it slowly.
  • Seek medical advise
  • Be prepared to resuscitate if necessary
  • Constantly monitor and record vital signs – level of response, pulse, and breathing.
  • Transport the casualty to the hospital.
Heart Attack

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