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Heart Disease

Heart Attack

Congestive Heart Failure

Generic Drugs

Alternative Heart Disease Treatment

Heart Disease 

Heart Attack

Heart Attack

From Emedicine.com

If you are having pain or discomfort in your chest, jaw, shoulder, arm, or back and think you may be having a heart attack, call 911 immediately. Do not delay or try to "wait it out."

If you think you are having a heart attack, seek help immediately. Do not ignore chest pain or discomfort. Time is of vital importance. Go immediately to a hospital emergency department. Do not attempt to drive yourself or have someone else drive you. Call 911 for emergency transport.

The heart is a muscular pump located in the chest. Its job is to pump blood around the body via the circulatory system of blood vessels. The heart consists of 4 chambers: right atrium and right ventricle, and left atrium and left ventricle.

  • Blood is depleted of oxygen after circulating through the body. This blood returns into the right atrium. From there the blood flows into the right ventricle, which pumps the blood out to the lungs for oxygenation.
  • The oxygen-rich blood then returns to the left atrium. From there it flows into the left ventricle and is pumped out at high pressure into the arteries.

The high pressure is generated by powerful contraction of the heart muscle.

  • This raises the pressure of the blood and enables it to flow through the extensive network of arteries to every part of the body and return to the heart.
  • For this pumping action, the heart has to be strong.

The heart is nourished by the blood supplied directly to the heart muscle through the coronary arteries.

  • The strength of the heart muscle depends very much on this blood supply.
  • The coronary arteries are usually strong, elastic, and quite flexible. The inner lining of the arteries is normally smooth. This allows the blood to flow smoothly without clotting.

Heart attack is caused by sudden loss of blood and oxygen to your heart.

  • The most common condition that predisposes a person to heart attack is coronary heart disease, or coronary artery disease.
  • The plaque and resulting blood clots block the artery partially or completely, reducing the amount of blood that can flow through the artery to the heart.
  • This cuts off the oxygen supply to part of the heart muscle.
  • If the blood supply is cut off long enough, that part of the heart muscle dies. This is a heart attack.
  • If a large enough part of the heart muscle is affected, a dangerous rhythm disorder called ventricular fibrillation may occur.
  • If this happens, the heart may stop. This is called cardiac arrest, and most people who have cardiac arrest die.

Despite immense medical progress in the last 3 decades, heart disease continues to be a major health problem in both industrialized and developing nations.

  • About 1.5 million Americans suffer a heart attack each year (that?s 1 heart attack every 20 seconds).
  • Many people die before getting medical attention. Approximately 90-95% of people who reach a hospital alive after a heart attack will survive.
  • Overall, about one third of people who have a heart attack die.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.

Clearly, time is of the essence. Recognizing the symptoms of a heart attack and seeking immediate medical attention may mean the difference between life and death.

  • Immediate death may be avoided if cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is begun within 4 minutes of the cardiac arrest.
  • CPR involves breathing for the person (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) and performing chest compressions to keep the blood circulating. This provides at least a small amount of oxygen to the heart and brain.

Survival depends on quick action.

  • Emergency personnel will assess the situation quickly. They may record an electrocardiogram (ECG).
  • If the person has ventricular fibrillation or there is no pulse, they may administer electrical current to the chest (defibrillation) to "shock" the heart back to normal rhythm.
  • Other emergency treatments include medications and CPR.

Bystanders can help a cardiac arrest victim before emergency personnel arrive.

  • Ventricular fibrillation often can be treated successfully with a defibrillator.
  • Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are now becoming available in many public places such as airports and airplanes, shopping malls, sports arenas, and office buildings.
  • These devices are designed so that they can be used in cardiac arrest by untrained bystanders.
  • Even if an AED is not available, you can take part in the "chain of survival" by performing CPR until help arrives.


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