Articles on heart attack

How Is Life After a Heart Attack

Dr. Nishith Chandra, Cardiologist
People think, after a heart attack, they cannot have a normal life. But if you take certain precautions and adopt lifestyle changes, you can live and enjoy almost normal life. Once you survive a heart attack, you tend to realize how close your brush with death has been and how important your lifestyle choices can be. Most people go on to live a productive life after a heart attack provided they can adhere to making healthy choices. Here's what you can do if you have experienced your first attack and want to change for the better:1. Start at the hospital: A person usually stays in the hospital for 3 days after an attack to monitor their condition. This duration increases if you have complications that involve procedures like a bypass surgery. Your first significant change will come in the form of your medication routine. Your existing dosage may be adjusted and you'll possibly be prescribed newer medicines that will treat and control your symptoms. You'll not only need to know the names of all your medicines, but when you have to take them. It's best you know exactly why you are taking each one of them, if there are other more economic alternatives since this may last a lifetime and what side effects they may have.2. Maintaining your mental health: Once bitten, twice shy applies for heart attack victims too. Not only do they live in a constant worry about another attack, every small symptom like a harmless muscle pull can trigger the fear factor. You also get into the "heart patient" dependent mode based on how much help you need to recover. Check for support groups and other heart attack survivors in your locality to see how they are coping. Read more about your recovery and try to keep a positive frame of mind.3. Go to a cardiac rehab: Many hospitals have a rehabilitation program that you can participate in as an outpatient or you can go to a clinic that specializes in it. Such programs help speed up your recovery. It is run by people who will hand hold you in bringing positive changes in your life to protect and strengthen your heart. You'll learn activities that positively improve heart functions and reduce your chances of developing complications or dying from heart disease. You'll also get benefit from exercises that'll be taught by a certified exercise specialist.4. Make a change in your lifestyle: Quit smoking that is an obvious one. You'll now have to lead a more active lifestyle with daily exercise. You'll also need to actively manage your diabetes and obesity. None of these changes can happen in a day. In fact, behavioral scientists suggest that you need to practice a new activity continuously for twenty one days for it to become a habit.

What to Do When Someone Has a Heart Attack

Dr. Rudradev pandey, Cardiologist
Definition A heart attack occurs when oxygen fails to reach the heart. The vital organ needs oxygen, contained in your blood, which travels through the arteries to the heart. But if an artery has a blockage in it, blood doesn’t reach the heart and the heart’s cells die, resulting in a heart attack.A heart attack is a serious, life-threatening situation — but many people who witness someone experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack don’t treat it that way. IF YOU HAVE SUSPICION OF ANY HEART PROBLEM GO AND CONSULT TO YOUR DOCTOR RATHER THAN SELF-MEDICATION. Symptoms Of Heart Attack: The symptoms of a heart attack aren’t always obvious and often differ between men and women. Those symptoms can be subtle — perhaps one reason why some people don’t make it to an emergency room — or they can be very painful. Knowing what to look for can help you know when to take action for a friend, colleague, or loved one in distress:For men: The typical male symptom is a crushing pressure behind the breastbone, also called the sternum. That pressure, can radiate to your arms (often the left arm) and can go into the back, shoulder blades, and jaw above to umblicus below. Men suffering a heart attack can break out in a sweat, may vomit or feel nauseating.The onset of pain may be gradual and last several minutes or more. Sometimes the pain fades and comes back.For women: Women can have any of the same symptoms that men experience, but women often have more “atypical” symptoms, such as shortness of breath, and they may feel some indigestion. A woman having a heart attack may also experience pain in her jaw, and could feel a little faint.These symptoms are not what most people think are indications of a heart attack, Dr Pandey says. “Doctors and patients have to be very wary when it comes to heart symptoms with women,” he says. And for good reason: Heart disease kills more women than any other health condition.What to doIt’s good to have a plan in place before a heart attack occurs, especially if the person has close relatives who have had heart attacks. According to Dr Pandey, smoking & tobacco chewing play a big part in who has a heart attack and who doesn’t. Genetics of patient also plays important role. especially in young patients with heart attack.Chances of recovery are much better if the affected artery can be opened up within an hour-and-a-half of the heart attack, making it essential to get the person having the attack to the emergency room immediately(Primary PTCA) “By the time 90 minutes go by, you want to get that artery open,” Dr Pandey says. “If you’re in a rural emergency room, and [the medical team can’t open the artery], you need clot-busting drugs.” followed by transfer to hospital with cath lab facilityYou Think It’s A Heart Attack? Dr Pandey says it’s extremely important for caregivers and friends to know the symptoms of a heart attack. Call 108 if you even suspect it's a heart attack and here’s what you can do before help arrives:Stay close. Do not leave the person to find medications to give them . It's better to call for help first; emergency personnel can administer aspirin or any other appropriate treatmentsGive a dose of sublingual nitriglycerine. If the person has been prescribed nitroglycerin in the past for heart disease, and the medication is close at hand, you can give them a dose. BUT NOT MORE THAN TWO TABLETSGo for comfort. Make the heart attack victim more comfortable by placing them in a comfortable position, loosening clothing, and staying close to provide reassuranceIf needed, give CPR. Studies have shown that CPR given by a bystander can double or triple a victim's chance of surviving cardiac arrest. If you are with someone who suddenly collapses, stops breathing, or is unresponsive, start performing hands-only CPR at 100 chest presses a minute with minimal interruptions. It’s just as effective as standard CPR

How to Diagnose Heart Attack ?

Dr. Nishith Chandra, Cardiologist
Heart Attack is  caused by blockage of the blood flow to the heart muscles.  Reduced blood flow leads to death of some portion of the heart muscle wall. While the word heart attack sounds almost fatal, it need not be the case. Knowing how to identify an attack and being aware of some simple measures can help save lives. SymptomsThe tell tale signs of a heart attack are as follows:- chest pain and discomfort usually described as a tightness or burning in the chest region- pain along the left side of the shoulder and neck, going up into the jaw, down to the arm- nausea and vomiting - profuse sweating - difficulty breathing - dizzy or fuzzy feeling - tired, extreme fatigue- anxious, apprehensive feeling However, be also aware that there are a lot of people who experience a silent heart attack. Women, obese, elderly, and diabetic patients can have silent attacks and depending on severity, either they go on with life as usual or can have a fatal attack.DiagnosisOnce you are doubtful of a heart attack, the next step is to reach the closest medical facility for a diagnosis. In addition to a detailed examination and history, the following two tests will be performed.1. Electrocardiogram (ecg): a 12-lead ecg will measure electrical activity of the heart and identify irregular electrical activity, which is indicative of a myocardial infarction.2. Blood tests: presence of certain enzymes in the blood, ck-mb and troponin are indicative of a heart attack. A complete electrolyte profile also will be done, and increase or decrease of some electrolytes is helpful in diagnosing a heart attack.3. In addition to these two, chest radiography, cardiac angiography, echocardiogram, stress test, and computed coronary tomography may also be required to confirm the diagnosis.ManagementOnce diagnosed, the first step would be to relieve the symptoms, negate the effects of reduced blood flow, and restore cardiac function. 1. Dissolve the clot - using blood thinners like aspirin & clopidogrel 2. Nitroglycerin - to dilate the blood vessels and improve blood flow, especially to the heart muscles3. Anticoagulant therapy - blood thinners are usually used to avoid blood clot formation; aspirin and heparin are the most commonly used agents.4. Drug therapy - blood pressure maintaining drugs like beta blockers and/or angiotensin-converting enzyme (ace) inhibitors are also used5. Use of statins - statins are used to reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood and stabilize plaque deposits.In very severe cases, angioplasty and stenting or coronary bypass surgery may be required. Educating people on how to identify a heart attack and manage it is very useful and can help save lives.

'Brain Attack' and 'Heart Attack': How Are They Different?

Dr. sudheerambekar
It is a common notion among people that 'brain attack' or 'stroke' and 'heart attack' are one and the same. There is also a profound lack of knowledge of common risk factors and symptoms of stroke. The inability of bystanders to recognise the common symptoms of stroke is a major hurdle in the appropriate management of patients with stroke as the golden hour is lost, especially in India where the pre-hospital services are not well organised. Treatment within the first 8 hours of onset of symptoms is most effective and prevents long-term morbidity and mortality. It is estimated that one person dies of a stroke every 36 seconds in India. In a study conducted among the rural population in Maharashtra in 2012, only 51% of the 373 respondents were able to correctly identify 'stroke' as a disorder of the brain, while 19% associated it with a heart attack! Also, one-third of the respondents (34%) did not know at least one risk factor for stroke. This phenomenon is seen in both developing and developed countries, although the proportions are lower in developed countries. What are the similarities and differences between 'stroke' and 'heart attack'?A heart attack refers to damage to the muscle of the heart, usually from a lack of blood flow. Most of the time, a blood clot forms in one of the arteries that supply the heart muscle with blood, blocking the flow of blood. As the heart muscle starves, it begins to die, causing chest pain and other symptoms of heart attack.A Stroke is a similar blockage in an artery in the brain or neck that supplies blood to the brain. When a clot forms in one of those arteries and stops blood flow, a section of the brain begins to die. When those cells die, the person loses whatever function those brain cells controlled. There is another category called the 'hemorrhagic stroke' in which a blood vessel bursts and bleeds in the brain.While the common symptoms of a heart attack are chest pain, tightness and shoulder pain, the symptoms of stroke are completely different and may range from nothing to a headache, paralysis of an arm or leg, unconsciousness, coma and death. Another type of stroke is a transient ischemic attack (TIA), essentially a “mini-stroke” caused by a temporary clot. TIA symptoms are identical to those of other kinds of strokes, but because they occur quickly and usually last less than five minutes, this brain attack often goes unnoticed.While a TIA doesn’t usually cause permanent injury to the brain, it serves as a warning for patients and gives them time to seek further medical treatment in preventing ischemic or hemorrhagic strokes.Because specific areas of the brain control certain functions, one can predict the effects of a stroke based on the location of the blockage. If the blockage occurs near the front of the brain, it can affect such things as organisation skills, memory, communication, and problem-solving. If it occurs lower down, near the brainstem, it can cause unconsciousness and an inability to breathe, swallow, or control elimination.if it occurs to one side near the temple, speech may be affected. In addition, which side (hemisphere) of the brain the stroke occurs on determines its side effects and which body functions are affected. The right side generally controls a person's emotions, creativity and abstract thinking. If the blockage occurs anywhere on the right side of the brain, it can cause the following symptoms: Paralysis or weakness on the left side of the bodyDisorientationExcessive talkingAn inability to perform routine tasks such as brushing the teeth, buttoning a shirt or tying shoelaceThe left side controls more of speech, logic, perception and organisation. If the stroke occurs anywhere on the left side of the brain, it can cause the following symptoms:Paralysis or weakness on the right side of the bodyDepressionAn inability to understand languageTrouble speakingMemory problemsDecreased attention span Heart attack and Stroke have many risk factors in common. They may be modifiable or non-modifiable. Some of the modifiable risk factors include High Blood PressureHeart DiseaseDiabetes MellitusCigarette smokingHistory of transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs)High blood CholesterolLack of exercise, physical inactivityObesityExcessive alcohol useDrug abuse  Some of the non-modifiable risk factors include- Age > 55 yearsMale genderRace (Asians and African-Americans have a greater risk than Caucasians)History of prior strokeFamily history of stroke

5 Signs that are a warning for a Heart Attack

Dr. Yogesh Kumar, Ayurveda
Heart attack or Angina pain could be neglected or missed if proper attention is not given to it. Half of the Heart Attacks go unnoticed every year because the signs and symptoms of heart attack are so similar to other mild problems that occasionally people do not take it seriously.People self-medicate with Painkiller,not knowing it is a Heart attack which proves fatal in the end.The typical textbook sign of a heart attack - left sided chest pain, radiating to arms and jaws-  are absent in half of the patients.Sometimes the heart attack is diagnosed by sheer luck as the patient comes to a doctor to seek help for some other ailment and regular checkups and E.C.G shows heart-related changes.Here are some feature one should suspect Heart attack when these are present:Well let get this straight majority of the patient does not feel left side chest pain,it may not be sharp but mild with a sense of constriction  and heaviness.There might be profuse sweating,nausea,restlessness.Some patients might get pain in the jaw, so they seek the help of The Dentists.If a Jaw ache persists even after dental treatment one should suspect Angina.The cervical spondylitis can also mimic the Angina pain as it radiates to the arm.People suffering from Diabetes might suffer from Silent Heart Attacks,which do not cause any pain so if a Diabetic experiences even mild Chest Pain or heaviness,weakness,sudden sweating,or breathlessness one should suspect Heart Attack.People of Mid ages ,if suddenly experience breathlessness and heaviness in the chest,every suspicion of heart Attack should be raised.Note: One should make every attempt to prevent the heart attack as prevention is better than cure. A healthy lifestyle, stress management, clean eating or balanced diet and living, regular exercise, Smoking Cessation are the key factors in the prevention of the Heart Attack and Other Several Diseases.

15 Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy and Happy

Dr. Anju Atreya, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Do all of these as part of your daily routine and you will have a fine heart that will keep beating strong for years!September 29 is World Heart Day and it would be the right time to take a moment to check how your heart is doing and feeling!Have you been kind to it and given it all the love and attention it deserves; or has your heart been ignored?Your heart is the centre of your whole system and here's what you can do to keep it happy and healthy:Strengthen the muscles of your heart by getting regular exerciseAs with other muscles, your heart muscles become strong when they are made to contract and release repeatedly at a fast pace.This keeps your heart beating nicely. It also burns away any accumulated fat that could deposit in your arteries that leads to heart attacks. Keep the pipe lines clean!Pick one activity from here, and do it six days a week for 30 minutes:WalkYogaJogRunCycleSwimAerobics/zumba/kick boxingActive sport (football, tennis, badminton; etc)Eat heart healthy foods like avocado, oatmeal, salmon, olive oil, nuts, berries, pure chocolate (100 per cent), legumes and spinach. Make one of these a part of every meal.Cut out the ugly artery clogging fried foods, oily foods, processed foods and artificial sugars.Have a cup of coffee/green tea. Both have anti-ageing properties.Have a glass of red wine (1 glass per day max). More anti-ageing!Consume high fibre diet.Get Your 5 A DayEat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day. They're a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals. There are lots of tasty ways to get your 5 A DAY, like adding chopped fruit to cereal or including vegetables in your pasta sauces and curries.Cut Down On SaltTo maintain healthy blood pressure, avoid using salt at the table and try adding less to your cooking. Once you get used to the taste of food without added salt, you can cut it out completely.Give up SmokingIf You 're a smoker, quit. It's the single best thing you can do for your heart health.Smoking is one of the main causes of coronary heart disease. A year after giving up, your risk of a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker.Read the food labelWhen shopping, it's a good idea to look at the label on food and drink packaging to see how many calories and how much fat, salt and sugar the product contains. Understanding what is in food and how it fits in with the rest of your diet will help you make healthier choices.Meditate. This reduces stress levels and makes the heart pump normally. Even 10 minutes a day can be of much good.Do one enjoyable activity every day. A crossword; phone your best friend; read a book; watch a comedy show; anything that is happy and positive.Get your annual health check-up.Plan a daily routine that makes you happy and stick to it. This lowers stress caused by disarray.Disconnect! Take time off from your phone, computer, TV and mental hang ups.Relax your body and mind. Light candles, play happy music, spray your house with scents. Your environment affects your mood.Do Now to celebrate your Healthy Heart Day...                                                             

4 Habits That Are Damaging Your Heart!

Dr. Dt. Souvick Dey, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Certain habits can cause damage to your heart even if you maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly. According to researchers, working people having who have a desk job are more prone to suffer from heart conditions due to stress in their work life, lack of proper rest, limited movement, etc. Most of the times you tend to ignore your bad habits as the side effects do not occur immediately but can cause serious damage to your heart. Following are the common bad habits that you should avoid for a healthier heart-1. Sitting all daySomething as seemingly trivial as it is, sitting all day can have an adverse effect on your heart. According to studies, if your job involves sitting on a desk for more than five hours then you have double the risk of suffering a heart failure compared to a person who has an active lifestyle. Make sure you take at least a five minute walk in an hour to reduce chances of hardening the arteries. A sedentary lifestyle has serious side effects on your overall health too.2. Stress too much Stress causes the body to release adrenaline which influences the way your body functions. In that case there might be an increase in heart rate or your blood pressure level. Over time, stress can cause damage to the blood vessels in your heart and increase your risk of sudden stroke or heart attack.3. Overdoing it on saltExcessive sodium can spike your blood pressure thereby making your more vulnerable to heart conditions. Processed foods like potato chips, canned vegetables, frozen meals and meats contain a fair amount of sodium which can have an adverse effect on your heart. It is important to take the nutritional value of these foods in account before purchasing it so that you get the ones with lowest amount of sodium.4. Not getting enough sleepThe heart rate dips when you sleep and goes up and down as a response to your dreams in various stages of your sleep. It is important for your heart to rest as it actively works in your waking hours. Sleep deprivation has similar effects on your heart like stress and can wreck your cardiovascular health. It is of utmost importance to sleep for at 7 hours to keep your heart healthy

Are You a Sitting Duck to Heart Disease?

Dr. Vishwas Virmani, Physiotherapist
Stand up. Stretch your muscles, they’ll thank you for it.When was the last time you had a heavy lunch, headed back to work, sat and worked at a stretch for 2 hours? Probably not too long ago. Studies have proven that people who sit for four hours or longer at a stretch are at a higher risk for chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.Modern lifestyle and technology have helped us get ahead but not at their own cost. There are many studies that categorically prove the ill effects of sedentary lifestyle combined with crazy work hours. This means that finishing that urgent presentation without listening to your body could spell disaster for your heart. One of the greatest causes for heart attacks- sitting for long hours either at work on in front of the television, could be the worst thing you’re doing to your body.But it’s not all bad. There’s still hope for us folks that are stuck to comfy chairs all day. Bringing small changes in your daily life can go a long way. Small breaks taken in between work to just walk up to the coffee machine or climbing stairs instead of taking the elevator are seemingly inconsequential things that can actually make a difference.While hitting the gym everyday might not be possible, squeezing in just 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week could be your ticket to a longer, happier life. Pick an activity you enjoy- cycling, walking or even skipping. Anything’s good as long as it gets you off your couch!So go on, take the stairs on your way back from work. Skip that late night movie and wake up for a morning stroll instead. Your heart will thank you for it!

Is Sitting Increasing Your Heart Risk?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
A sedentary lifestyle may increase the risk of diseases like diabetes and heart problems. It is really important to do some moderate to intense physical activity everyday. Physical workout in the form of exercise is very beneficial for all ages. It releases good hormones and helps to reduce stress, which is also responsible for lifestyle diseases like diabetes, heart problems and obesity.According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart failure affects over 5 million people in the US, where it contributes to around 1 in 9 deaths and costs the nation an estimated $32 billion a year.According to new research published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Heart Failure says –“Sitting for long periods increases heart failure risk in men, even for those who exercise regularly”The question that arises is that how does sitting increase the risk for heart failure. The reason given by Prof. Sara Rosenkranz is that when we sit for a long time, the muscle contraction activity lowers, due to which a molecule called lipoprotein lipase or LPL, shuts down. LPL converts fat into energy, for use by the body. She also explains that "We're basically telling our bodies to shut down the processes that help to stimulate metabolism throughout the day and that is not good. Just by breaking up your sedentary time, we can actually regulate that process in the body."One way to avoid prolonged sitting during the workday is to switch to a standing desk. An easier, no-cost solution is to set your smartphone timer to go off every 30 to 60 minutes during the day. When the alarm rings, “Stretch and move around the office to avoid any prolonged sitting,” Dr. Manson recommends.So, along with exercise, it is really important to also spend some time standing. Also, when we are sitting, we tend to eat more unnecessarily and even binge. Make it a point, whether you are at the workplace or at home, to spare some time in between to get up and walk around or at least do some light stretches.

6 Ways Exercise Can Reduce Your Risk of Heart Attack

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
A sedentary (inactive) lifestyle is one of the top risk factors for heart disease. Exercise is beneficial for preventing heart ailments. It is also a major modifiable risk factor in reduction of non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases. Regular exercise of moderate intensity reduces the incidence of coronary events and mortality from CHD (Coronary Heart Disease) by around 50%. It is essential to remember that the body weight is affected by the balance of “calories consumed” and “calories-burned”.Benefits of regular exercise or some sort of intense physical activity is:-1) Decrease workload on heart:-Exercises that put the heart and lung to stress are called aerobic exercises. Aerobic exercise increases heart size and strength. The heart’s stroke volume is also increased. The heart then needs to pump fewer times per minute to circulate the same amount of blood. This represents a long-term reduction in the heart’s workload.2) Increase HDL :-Exercise raises blood levels of HDL (good cholesterol) creating a more favourable ratio of HDL to LDL (bad cholesterol). This effect is more marked in men, although high intensity exercise will have the same effect on women. Studies also show that, exercise stimulates enzymes that help move LDL from the blood (and blood-vessel walls) to the liver. From there, cholesterol is converted into bile (for digestion) or excreted. So, the more you exercise, the more LDL your body expels and your blood’s LDL gets lowered, which protects you from heart disease.3) Improvement in blood circulation:-Exercise enhances the circulatory system by increasing the oxygen carrying capacity of blood and increases the blood volume. Regular physical activity increases Lipo protein lipase concentration which in turn reduces CHD risk. This is because lipase enzyme plays a role in the digestion of the fat.4) Lowers blood pressure :-Exercise help in lowering blood pressure levels by improving endothelial vasodilator function and left ventricular diastolic function. In lay man language, it means, exercise lowers blood pressure levels.5) Lower blood sugar level:-Exercise increases the sensitivity of the cell so that cells can utilize insulin very effectively. During exercise, when muscles contract, it allows your body cells to consume the glucose irrespective of whether insulin is available or not.6) Exercise lowers your stress levels:-While exercising, the happy hormone or Serotonin gets released into the body. Serotonin keeps your stress level down and also controls emotional eating.Exercise also keeps your cravings for junk and unhealthy food in control, which is amongst the most common reasons for heart diseases. Junk food contains saturated fat which is not good for the heart and it even contains high amounts of sugar, which lead to an increase in the body's glucose levels.In general, to achieve maximum benefits, you should gradually work up to an aerobic session of at least 20 to 30 minutes, at least three to four times a week. Exercising every other day will help you maintain a regular aerobic exercise schedule. Every exercise session should include a warm up phase, a strengthening phase, and a cool-down (stretching) phase. “Being fit is more important than weight or body mass index for heart health,” says Martha Gulati, M.D., the lead author of the study and an associate professor of medicine at Ohio State University in Columbus.Due to Indian genetic risk of heart diseases and diabetes, Indians are recommended to exercise for 5 days a week, at 40-50 minutes. But as we said earlier, work your stamina up from a slow start.So along with diet, exercise plays a major role in the health of the heart, so never skip your exercise session. Make it a permanent part of your lifestyle and you will reap it's long term health benefits.