What is a Heart Attack?
A heart attack happens when blood flow to the heart is blocked or cut off. If there’s not sufficient oxygen-rich blood flowing to the heart, it can cause damage to the affected area. As a result, the heart muscle begins to die.
A heart attack is a life-threatening medical emergency. The sooner you can get medical treatment that restores normal blood flow to your heart, the better your chance of a successful outcome.
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General symptoms of a heart attack can include:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in your arm, shoulder, or neck
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Upper body pain
- Trouble breathing
- Anyone experiencing any of the above heart attack symptoms should contact the emergency services immediately.
If you’ve had a heart attack, your doctor may recommend a procedure (surgery or nonsurgical). These procedures can relieve pain and help prevent another heart attack from occurring.
Common procedures include:
- Stent:- A stent is a wire mesh tube surgeons insert into the artery to keep it open after angioplasty.
- Angioplasty:- An angioplasty opens the blocked artery by using a balloon or by removing the plaque buildup. It’s important to note that healthcare professionals rarely use angioplasty alone anymore.
- Heart bypass surgery:- In bypass surgery, your doctor reroutes the blood around the blockage.
- Heart valve surgery:- In valve repair or replacement surgery, surgeons repair or replace leaky valves to help the heart pump.
- Pacemaker:- A pacemaker is a device implanted beneath the skin. It can help your heart maintain a normal rhythm.
- Heart transplant:- Surgeons may recommend a heart transplant in cases where a heart attack causes permanent tissue death to most of the heart.
Heart attack prevention
While there are many risk factors that you cannot control, there are some basic steps you can take to help keep your heart healthy. Here are a few examples:
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Try to incorporate nutrient-rich foods into your diet as often as possible. Focus on lean proteins, whole grains, fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy, nuts, and seeds.
Try to limit fatty, fried foods and foods that contain simple sugars like sodas, baked goods, and white bread.
- Exercise regularly. Try to get at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week for optimum heart health.
- Quit smoking. If you smoke, consider talking with your doctor about starting a smoking cessation program.
Quitting smoking can help reduce your risk because smoking is a major cause of heart disease.
Limit your alcohol intake. Moderation is key when it comes to alcohol and heart health.
- Light to moderate alcohol consumption is defined as one drink per day for