Ever felt like having feet...
Heart attack : How to save yourself?
What is a heart attack?
A heart attack, also known as myocardial infarction, happens when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked.
The blockage can be formed due to multiple reasons. In most cases, the blockage is made up of fat and cholesterol that deposit in arteries that supply blood to the heart, more commonly known as the coronary arteries. Without a constant supply of blood which carries oxygen and nutrients to the heart, the affected part of the heart muscle is at risk of being damaged unless the blockage is quickly removed. If this part of the muscle dies, it will then be replaced by scar tissue naturally.
Heart attack might also be fatal if left untreated as it increases the risk of having cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the heart ceases to beat, which affects oxygen-rich blood reaching the brain and other organs of the body, which eventually leads to death.
Immediate treatment and what YOU can do about it
In a situation where you are facing a heart attack, or if someone around you is, do not fret! Stay calm as your immediate actions will be able to save a life and minimise the damage to the heart as much as possible!
In an event where there is a heart attack emergency:
1. Call 999 immediately for emergency medical help and say you think someone is having a heart attack. If you suspect you are having a heart attack, don't hesitate. Immediately call 999 or your local emergency number. If you don't have access to emergency medical services, have someone drive you to the nearest hospital.
2. Help move them into the most comfortable position. The best position is on the floor leaning against a wall with knees bent and head and shoulders supported.
3. Keep checking their breathing, pulse and level of response.
4. If they stop responding at any point, you may need to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Push hard and fast on the person's chest in a fairly rapid rhythm — about 100 to 120 compressions a minute.
5. Take aspirin, only if recommended. Taking aspirin during a heart attack could reduce heart damage by helping to keep your blood from clotting. However, aspirin can interact with other medications, so do not take an aspirin unless your doctor or emergency medical personnel recommend it.
Symptoms vary among individuals, it could be a partial or complete blockage of the artery, hence it is important to seek help immediately when you first detect symptoms.
The few most common symptoms are:
1. Chest pain (feels like someone is pressing on your chest, aching sensation may spread to your arm, neck, jaw or back, it can last more than 15 minutes, sometimes even several hours)
2. Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or abdominal pain
3. Shortness of breath
4. Cold sweating
5. Unusual fatigueness/pale skin/weak pulse
6. Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness
Symptoms of heart attacks may occur a few days or even weeks before an actual heart attack, it is important to not confuse these symptoms with what we, Malaysians like to call it, “heatiness”. The severity of symptoms vary among patients, therefore everyone should be extra sensitive towards these symptoms especially for those who are at higher risk of facing heart attacks. With these in mind, we all are capable of not just saving ourselves, but also our loved ones!
A few of us are at a higher risk of having heart attacks, why is that so? Let’s have a look!
There are certain factors that will aggravate the buildup of fatty deposits that narrows arteries and reduces blood flow throughout your body. You can improve or eliminate many of these risk factors to reduce your chances of having a first or another heart attack.
Heart attack risk factors include:
1. Age (50 years old and above)
2. Exposure to tobacco/smoking/second-hand smoke
3. High blood pressure
4. High blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
6. Obesity (lack of physical activity)
7. Genetics factors/family history of heart attacks.
What can I do to lower my risk of heart disease?
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce your chances of getting heart disease!
1. Eat a healthy diet. It is best to avoid saturated fats, foods high in sodium and artificial sugars. Healthy diet includes consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
2. Exercise regularly. Exercising consistently would strengthen your heart and improve your blood circulation. It also helps to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese will increase your risk for coronary heart disease. It can also help in lowering blood cholesterol levels which would clog arteries if left untreated!
3. Avoid alcohol. Consuming too much alcohol will raise your blood pressure and may also cause weight gain. Both of those are major risk factors of heart disease. It is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly - at least once a year for most adults and daily measurement is highly advisable if you have high blood pressure.
4. Avoid smoking. Cigarette smoking raises your blood pressure and puts you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke.
5. Managing stress. Stress is linked to heart disease in many ways. It can raise your blood pressure. Extreme stress can be a "trigger" for a heart attack. There are many ways which are beneficial towards our health but able to keep our mind at ease at the same time: exercising, listening to music, focusing on something calm or peaceful, e.g. meditating, embroidering or completing a puzzle piece :)
6. Managing diabetes. Having diabetes doubles your risk of diabetic heart disease. Over time, high blood pressure from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels. So, it is important to get tested for diabetes, and if you have it, make sure to keep it under control.
7. Make sure that you get enough sleep. If you don't get enough sleep, this will raise your risk of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes, which are all risk factors for heart diseases. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
It's never too late to take steps and adopt new healthy habits, let us all do our best to take good care of our heart, your body will thank you for that in the future!
If you have any questions related to pregnancy, you can consult our professional doctors and healthcare professionals on Doc2Us. Doc2Us is a mobile application that allows you to talk to a doctor or any healthcare professionals via text chat at any time and from anywhere. For better communication, you can even send our online doctor images or voice messages related to your medical inquiry.
Download Doc2Us app on Apple App Store, Google Play Store and Huawei App Gallery; or use our web chat at https://web.doc2us.com/
Note: Doc2Us is not for medical emergencies. In the event of urgent medical conditions, please call 999.
Disclaimer: As a service to our users and general public, Doc2Us provides health education contents. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Ever felt like having feet...
Diabetes is a growing concern ...
I am sure having to grow up in...
Do you have that pooping s...
Whether a pregnancy test t...
A toddler blinking hard or fas...
Introducing DOC2US, your personal pocket doctor at your fingertips. With its name synonymous to “talk to us”, DOC2US is a mobile application that allows you to talk to a doctor or any healthcare professionals via text chat at any time and from anywhere.