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Myocardial infarction or heart attack: Causes, recognising signs and symptoms, treatment and prevention tips

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Feb 26, 2024 07:42 PM IST

Health experts reveal all you need to know about myocardial infarction or heart attack - causes, recognising signs and symptoms, treatment and prevention tips

Myocardial infarction, commonly known as a heart attack, is a critical cardiovascular event with significant implications and occurs when the blood flow to a part of the heart muscle is obstructed, often due to a blood clot. The underlying cause is typically the buildup of cholesterol-rich plaque in the coronary arteries, leading to reduced blood supply.

Myocardial infarction or heart attack: Causes, recognising signs and symptoms, treatment and prevention tips (Photo by Shutterstock)
Myocardial infarction or heart attack: Causes, recognising signs and symptoms, treatment and prevention tips (Photo by Shutterstock)

Causes:

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Anup Taksande, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at Wockhardt Hospitals in Mumbai's Mira Road, shared, “The primary cause of myocardial infarction is atherosclerosis, where arteries become narrowed and hardened due to plaque accumulation. Other contributing factors include hypertension, diabetes, smoking, and a family history of heart disease.”

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Bringing his expertise to the same, Dr Sreekanth Shetty, Senior Consultant and Head - Interventional Cardiology at Sakra World Hospital in Bengaluru, said, “A heart attack, medically termed myocardial infarction, arises when a coronary artery experiences sudden blockage, leading to damage in the heart muscle due to decreased blood flow caused by the buildup of plaque.”

Symptoms:

Dr Anup Taksande said, “Recognising the symptoms is crucial for prompt intervention. Chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea and lightheadedness are common indicators. However, symptoms can vary, and women may experience subtler signs.”

According to Dr Sreekanth Shetty, “Symptoms encompass chest discomfort, breathlessness, nausea and sweating, while women may present with different indicators at times. Interestingly, some heart attacks occur without any noticeable symptoms. Contributing factors include previous heart conditions, age, smoking, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension, obesity and stress.”

Treatment and prevention tips:

Dr Anup Taksande asserted, “Emergency medical attention is imperative for treating a heart attack. Medical interventions may include medications to dissolve clots, aspirin to prevent further clotting, and procedures like angioplasty or stent placement to restore blood flow. Rehabilitation programs focus on lifestyle changes and cardiac therapies to enhance recovery. Preventing myocardial infarction involves adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise, a balanced diet low in saturated fats, smoking cessation, and managing conditions like hypertension and diabetes are paramount. Routine health check-ups, cholesterol monitoring, and maintaining a healthy weight contribute to preventive measures.”

He added, “Myocardial infarction is a serious health concern and understanding its causes, recognising symptoms, seeking prompt treatment and adopting preventive measures are essential components of mitigating its impact on cardiovascular health. Education and awareness play pivotal roles in empowering individuals to prioritise heart health and reduce the risk of myocardial infarction.”

Dr Sreekanth Shetty concluded, “Timely medical intervention is imperative. Prevention strategies involve embracing a healthy lifestyle, managing underlying health issues, and adhering to prescribed medications to mitigate the risk of a heart attack.”

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