The Primary Treatments for Heart Attacks
Heart attack is a condition that occurs due to reduced or blocked blood flow to the heart. Heart attacks are also known as myocardial infarctions and can be fatal, hence requiring immediate medical attention. There are multiple factors that may cause a heart attack, and the identification of this cause is of vital importance to ensure proper heart attack treatment and prevention of future episodes. There are also different types of heart attacks, and each type requires a specific line of treatment.
Characterization and Symptoms of Heart Attacks
A blockage or sudden reduction of blood flow to the heart causes a heart attack. Other factors such as infections, coronary artery spasms, or a tear inside the heart artery may also induce a heart attack. Many risk factors are involved with heart attacks, some of which are associated with old age, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, unhealthy lifestyle, stress, or a health condition such as autoimmune disorders.
The symptoms of a heart attack may include some of the following;
- Sudden chest pain that feels like tightness and pressure
- Indigestion or acid reflux
- Cold sweats
- Sudden dizziness
- Nausea and vomiting
Women specifically can experience symptoms such as sudden sharp pain in the neck, back, or arm. Heart attacks happen suddenly. However, some symptoms may begin to show a few days in advance. It is observed that the symptoms are usually mild in diabetic patients.
What are the treatments for heart attack?
The type of heart attack determines the suitable method of treatment to be adopted. The standard heart attack treatments are;
- Angioplasty: It is used to widen the blocked or narrowed coronary arteries. A special tube with an attached balloon is used to perform this surgery.
- Artificial heart valve surgery: under this procedure, the damaged or abnormal heart valve is replaced with a healthy valve.
- Bypass surgery: under this surgery, a new passage is created for blood flow in place of the blocked heart arteries.
- Heart transplant: this surgery involves the removal of the unhealthy heart and its replacement with a donated healthy heart.
Several medications and drugs are prescribed for heart attacks. They are:
- Anticoagulant: this medication is used to treat certain types of blood vessels and heart and lung conditions.
- Antiplatelet agent: these medicines prevent the formation of blood clots in the blood vessels of the heart.
- Beta-blocker: these medicines decrease the heart rate and reduce blood pressure.
- Calcium channel blockers: these prevent the movement of calcium into the heart cells. It will reduce the heart’s pumping strength and relax blood vessels.
- Cholesterol-lowering medication: various medications are used to lower the cholesterol levels in the blood. Statins are the best-advised medicine in this group.
- Diuretics: diuretics rid the body of excess fluids through urination, which reduces the strain on the heart. They also decrease the buildup of fluids in other parts of the body.
- Vasodilator: vasodilators relax the blood vessels and increase blood and oxygen supply to the heart while simultaneously decreasing its workload.
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor: the ACE inhibitors expand the blood vessels and help in decreasing the resistance in blood flow.
Doctors use many other types of medications for heart attack treatment. The line of medication depends on the type and cause of heart attack.
Lifestyle changes for heart attack patients
Apart from the surgical methods and prescribed medications and drugs, lifestyle changes are important and advised by all doctors. These lifestyle changes are important for all those who have suffered a heart attack and its prevention.
A healthy diet that is low in sodium content, cholesterol, and fats is recommended. Foods that meet these requirements are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Any foods that may contribute to an increase in blood pressure or cholesterol should be avoided.
It is essential to maintain a healthy and resilient body through suitable exercises. Doctors recommend regular exercise. However, patients recovering from heart attacks must follow strict instructions of only prescribed exercises and not go overboard. Regular check-ups should be done on patients recovering from heart attacks.
After suffering from a heart attack, people in recovery are able to resume their day-to-day activities after a span of 4 weeks. Recovery largely depends on age, muscle strength, method of treatment, and lifestyle changes adopted by the patient.
Heart attack treatments are the responsibility of the doctors; however, prevention of heart attacks is a personal responsibility. Proper maintenance of good health, mind, and body is the most important treatment and prevention of heart attacks.
Advancements in medical science have meant that cardiology departments are equipped with the latest and modern diagnostic technology. The imaging machines and surgical technology are state of the art and can successfully accommodate the treatment of all types of heart attack patients. As a result, doctors and hospitals are well equipped for heart attack treatments and therapy.