Surprising causes of heart attack everyone should know about

Published on Mar 05, 2022 11:31 AM IST

Sedentary lifestyle, stress and chronic diseases are said to be common risk factors associated with heart disease. But you will be surprised to know about these lesser-known causes of heart attack.

Mouth bacteria that causes periodontal diseases can cause inflammation in the lining of your arteries which can lead to fatty buildup in them and cause a heart attack.(File photo)
Mouth bacteria that causes periodontal diseases can cause inflammation in the lining of your arteries which can lead to fatty buildup in them and cause a heart attack.(File photo)

Legendary Australian spinner Shane Warne's death on Friday due to suspected heart attack has come as a shocker for his fans all over the world. The cricketer was 52. Experts say heart attack and sudden cardiac death have been on rise in the past few decades and affecting people across the age groups. In a heart attack, the blood flow to the heart is stopped which damages the heart. (Also read: Shane Warne dies of suspected heart attack at 52; know what may cause sudden heart attacks)

Sedentary lifestyle, stress and diseases like hypertension and diabetes are said to be the traditional risk factors associated with heart disease, there may be some lesser-known or surprising causes of heart attack that must be known by all. HT Digital spoke to two cardiac experts regarding the non-traditional causes of heart attacks.

1. Mouth bacteria

According to WebMD, mouth bacteria that causes periodontal diseases can cause inflammation in the lining of your arteries which can lead to fatty buildup in them and cause a heart attack.

"Inflammation in our body is one of the causes of heart attack and the cause of this inflammation can be many. Any situation which is pro inflammatory predisposes us in developing heart attack and we have to make sure inflammation does not happen and if it is happening we take care of it," Dr Aparna Jaswal Director - Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Okhla, New Delhi told HT Digital in a telecon.

2. Depression

Depression not only deprive you of finding joy in daily activities and make you feel hopeless, it can also result in heart attack. It is generally because of the kind of lifestyle people with depression lead.

"Those people who suffer from depression (are at risk of heart attack). Nobody thinks that a person suffering from depression may develop a heart disease. Those who suffer from depression have higher likelihood of developing lifestyle diseases. They follow sedentary lifestyle, they do not exercise and as a result they are in window of developing heart attack," says Dr Jaswal.

3. Auto-immune illness

One may not be prepared for this ever, but even younger children can get heart attack and it maybe due to an auto immune disease.

"Vasculitis is another entity that comes under non atherosclerosis related heart attacks. It is a systemic and auto immune illness. Kawasaki’s disease is typically witnessed in young children where the coronary arteries get inflamed leading to a heart attack," says Dr Praveen Kulkarni, Senior Cardiologist at Global Hospitals Parel, Mumbai.

4. Cocaine

If you are a drug-addict, you are certainly at more risk of a heart attack.

"Nicotine and smoking are established factors for heart attack but another drug abuse which can lead to heart attack is cocaine," says Dr Kulkarni.

"There are certain drugs that can cause a heart attack. Stimulant drugs can cause heart attack beacuse they increase our blood pressure and heart rate," according to Dr Jaswal.

5. Loneliness

If you are someone who has few people in their lives that may increase your odds of heart attack as loneliness is associated with stress and high blood pressure.

"If you engage yourself in group activities and have a strong social network the chances of preventing a heart attack is more," Dr Jaswal tells us.

6. Injury of coronary artery

This is a fairly frequent cause of heart attacks in the younger age group and is mostly found in women.

"SCAD necessarily means that the Coronary artery gets injured, or there is an internal tear within the blood vessel resulting in a heart attack. These conditions are difficult to diagnose and difficult to treat . We have recently witnessed a rise in SCAD as a common cause for heart attacks amongst the younger age group and more so in women," says Dr Kulkarni.

7. Coronary spasm

"It is also known as Prinzmetal angina. In this, the coronary artery goes in spasm and it is usually transient, but when there is a spasm it mimics a heart attack. This condition is witnessed majorly amongst smokers or when exposed to extreme cold, and emotional stress," says Dr Kulkarni.

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