The Signs Are There

Many physical conditions arise gradually, which gives you time to react or even plan for what to do. Heart attacks seem to come out of nowhere. Anti-aging techniques can help to counter heart disease. However, you may have a problem and if you know what to look for, you and your doctor can take steps to prevent a heart attack or a stroke.

How Common Is Coronary Heart Disease?

Heart disease is becoming more prevalent each year and is the leading cause of death in the United States. That’s not all, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.

When you add it all up, heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases are among the most widespread and costly health problems currently facing the country.

Fortunately, they are also among the most preventable. Adopt an anti-aging lifestyle. Be aware of the signs of a heart attack. If you think there is a problem, get help as soon as possible. Early detection is certainly the best approach. Pinpointing the problem before it gets to advanced stages makes all the difference.

Heart Attack Symptoms and Signs

“The classic symptoms of heart attack include a feeling of extreme pressure on the chest and chest pain, including a squeezing or full sensation. This can be accompanied by pain in one or both arms, jaw, back, stomach, or neck. Other symptoms of heart attack include shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, and a feeling of breaking out in a cold sweat. Although chest pain and pressure are the characteristic symptoms, women are somewhat more likely than men to experience heart attack that does not occur in this typical fashion. Instead, some women with heart attacks may experience more of the other symptoms, like

  • Lightheadedness,
  • Nausea,
  • Extreme fatigue,
  • Fainting,
  • Dizziness,
  • Pressure in the upper back.”
image of a stethoscope and heart

Exactly What is a Heart Attack?

It seems to be an easy question but not really. A heart attack or myocardial infarction causes damage to the heart muscle. After all, your heart is simply a pumping muscle. This usually occurs due to reduced blood flow to the heart. Your heart muscle is deprived of the oxygen it needs to perform.

If your heart does not recover and the heart attack is severe, it may lead to cardiac arrest. In this instance, your heart muscle will cease to function. However, a heart attack is not the only cause of cardiac arrest.

Heart Attack or Angina?


A heart attack is caused by an acute blockage of one or more of the small or large heart arteries. This acute blockage of the heart arteries is usually due to the rupture of a pre-existing atherosclerotic plaque in the artery. This plaque is the body’s mechanism of repairing an injury to the vessel wall. It is composed of cholesterol, calcium, fibrous tissue, and resolving clot material. When the plaque becomes large, the plaque is more likely to rupture.

The body will respond immediately to the ruptured plaque by sending platelets and other clotting factors to repair the acute injury to the vessel. Small debris from the ruptured plaque and small platelet/clotted blood can detach and travel distally in the artery which may lodge in a blood vessel. It then may produce an acute blockage of the vessel, leading to a heart attack.

Angina occurs when one or more of the heart arteries is critically narrowed to greater than 70%. It produces inadequate flow to the heart during exercise or stress. However, it may not be complete blockage. When there is a complete acute blockage of a heart artery, a heart attack occurs.

Your doctor and your hospital will work together to diagnose your heart attack and the work diligently to improve the flow of blood by medications, angioplasty/stent, or coronary bypass surgery, if necessary. The cath lab (cardiac catheterization lab) in your hospital may perform a diagnostic angiogram to exam blood flow to your heart. At that time appropriate procedures will be initiated.

What Can Be Done to Decrease the Chance of a Heart Attack

image of heart outline

Coronary heart disease often starts as the buildup of plaque in your vessels. Artery plaque takes many years to develop but can be seen in those as young as 25 to 30. It takes years for this plaque to become large enough to significantly narrow the vessels and produce angina symptoms. A sudden increase of your blood pressure can put stress on the plaque in your vessels causing the plaque to rupture.

Some factors that cannot be changed are:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Family history of heart attacks

Factors that can be changed are:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Smoking


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