Dr. Subhash Chandra, Chairman and HOD, Cardiology, BLK Heart Centre at BLK Super Speciality Hospital, answers questions about the symptoms, causes and ways to avoid a heart attack.
What is a heart attack?
The lack of blood supply to the muscles of the heart due to blockage (cholesterol deposit) in coronary arteries leads to a heart attack.
What causes a heart attack?
When a fat-like substance called plaque ruptures and blocks the coronary artery with a blood clot, a heart attack ensues, sometimes leading to catastrophic consequences like sudden death or disability.
What are the symptoms of a heart attack?
Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the centre of the chest, which lasts for more than a few minutes.This is usually a crushing pain, which may move towards the jaw or arms, most commonly on the left side. The pain is not relieved by resting and is usually prolonged for over 20 minutes. Heart attack pain can sometimes feel like indigestion or heartburn. Shortness of breath can also be a symptom, along with the discomfort.
Other symptoms may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, vomiting or feeling light-headed or dizzy. In some cases, symptoms may vary and some people may have no symptoms at all.
Who are at a greater risk of having a heart attack?
The following are at a greater risk of having a heart attack: A chain smoker A man above 45 years or a woman above 55 years A person with a family history of early heart disease A person with a personal history of angina or previous heart attack A person who has undergone a heart procedure, such as Angioplasty or Heart Bypass A person who is obese and physically inactive A person who has high blood pressure high cho lesterol or diabetes.
What can I do to low er my risk of having a heart attack?
You can lower the risk of heart attack by: Quitting smoking Maintaining a healthy weight Following a heart healthy diet which is low in salt, calories, saturated and trans fat Being physically active Following your doctors advice in keeping your cholesterol level, high blood pressure level and diabetes under control.