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Myocardial infarction

The myocardial infarction is one of the best known diseases in society.

Currently, it is estimated that there are around 52,000 heart attacks a year , which require hospitalization. Of course, we must count on the fact that there are patients who die before receiving medical assistance, which are not counted in these 52,000 cases.

At present, cases of myocardial infarction among young people in Spain have notably increased ; a fact that is directly related to drug use.

What is myocardial infarction?

Myocardial infarction is one of the most serious cardiovascular diseases . It occurs after the complete obstruction of a certain artery, which results in the death of an area of ​​the heart since the blood supply to it is suppressed. Thus, if the heart muscle does not receive oxygen for a long period of time, the tissue cannot regenerate.

Although it can occur in people of any age, it occurs mainly in adults and the elderly , affecting men and women equally; however, in the case of women it manifests itself about ten years later than in men. This difference is due to the fact that women of childbearing age are better protected against a disease of this type.

Causes

The direct cause of myocardial infarction is, as we have pointed out, the obstruction of the coronary arteries, thus preventing blood circulation and supply to the fibers of the heart muscle. Thus, a myocardial infarction occurs when a blood clot, which is called coronary thrombosis, obstructs an artery that has been narrowed for different reasons.

There is a great selection of factors that accelerate the deterioration of the arteries and their obstruction; We explain them below.

  • Cholesterol: high levels of cholesterol in the blood are one of the highest risk factors for myocardial infarction. Cholesterol is an essential fat for the proper functioning of the body. However, a high amount of bad cholesterol can cause clogging of the arteries, thus promoting cardiovascular disease.
  • Diabetes : High glucose levels cause poor circulation, so diabetes significantly increases the risk of heart attack.
  • Hypertension: high blood pressure causes the heart to have to work harder to pump blood to the aorta; thus, with the passage of time it ends up thickening and becoming more rigid.

Symptoms of myocardial infarction

The main symptom of a myocardial infarction is a crushing pain in the center of the chest, which usually radiates to the arms ; in some cases also towards the neck and back. It is perceived as a very intense pressure that does not stop, and that is accompanied by great difficulty in breathing , as well as excessive sweating. Dizziness, vomiting and nausea can also occur.

It is really important to pay special attention to the symptoms since almost 50% of deaths due to this condition occur in the first four hours after the main warning signs appear.

Diagnosis and treatment

Once a patient goes to the hospital after suffering a myocardial infarction, the simplest test to confirm the diagnosis is the electrocardiogram . A medical test that allows you to graphically visualize the electrical forces that work on the heart.

It is completely painless and detects heart abnormalities at the time the pain occurs. In addition, later the electrocardiogram is very useful to determine if the myocardial infarction has caused any damage to the heart .

Another of the most frequent diagnostic tests for this cardiovascular disease is the blood test . It allows determining the increase in serum activity of some enzymes released into the bloodstream given the necrosis that occurs during myocardial infarction. In addition, a blood test makes it possible to determine values ​​in relation to cholesterol and glucose .

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To determine if ischemic heart disease has spread, coronary angiography is one of the most common tests. It is not advisable in those patients who present some type of clotting disorder, as well as heart failure or ventricular dysfunction.

Treatment of myocardial infarction

The treatment of this disease depends fundamentally on the damage that the myocardial infarction has caused to the heart, as well as on its intensity.

When the patient goes to the hospital, oxygen is first given . Also, if the chest pain is very severe and persistent, pain relievers are given.

The patient is also treated with beta-blockers , which prevent adrenaline from stimulating the heart, as well as with thrombolytics to dissolve clots and thus promote blood circulation.

If the myocardial infarction causes serious damage to the heart, one of the most common treatments is coronary bypass ; a procedure in which an artery in another area of ​​the body is divided and attached to the coronary artery, thus creating a new route through which blood can flow to the heart.

Prognosis of a heart attack

As we have pointed out, a myocardial infarction is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention; time is key because every minute determines the patient’s prognosis.

Mortality from myocardial infarction is 30% ; of all deaths that occur, 50% occur in the first four hours after the first symptoms begin.

The evolution of each patient depends on the amount of heart tissue that has been injured. If it is a small area and the condition has not altered the electrical function of the heart muscle in any way, the chances of survival are very high. Despite being a serious disease, the probability of survival exceeds 60%.

How to prevent myocardial infarction?

There are a large number of risk factors for a myocardial infarction, such as smoking, diabetes, high blood cholesterol levels, hypertension, lack of exercise, unhealthy eating … Reduce these risks and, therefore, the chances of suffering a heart attack is possible taking into account the following points.

  • Quitting smoking is a key factor since smoking promotes clogging of the arteries.
  • It is also important to eat a healthy diet , avoiding fatty foods with a high salt content. Bet on the consumption of foods rich in antioxidants.
  • It is convenient to practice physical exercise on a regular basis .
  • And finally, it is advisable to lead a lifestyle that is as relaxed as possible . Practicing meditation is a good idea.

How to act before a myocardial infarction?

A heart attack is a medical emergency, so it is essential to act as quickly as possible. Here are the steps to follow.

  • Calm: The first and most important thing, although at that moment it is difficult, is to remain calm and pay attention to the symptoms.
  • Posture: it is essential to place the victim in a suitable position before calling the ambulance. If she is conscious, it is best to position her in a position that allows her to breathe easily. If you are unconscious and breathing, the best position is to the side, turning your head to the side so that your cheek touches the ground.
  • Medical assistance: of course, it is essential to request medical assistance immediately. While the ambulance arrives, the belt and shirt must be loosened to make the victim more comfortable.

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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