Heart attacks are varcharacterized by the death of heart-muscle cells. Their death is due to reduced or obstructed blood flow through the coronary arteries. It is more common in men over 40. Heart attacks are rising for women. The symptoms that develop vary, particularly in the elderly and in those with Diabetes. If there are persistent symptoms of pain in the chest, neck, arm or upper abdomen, it might be a heart attack, and it is a medical emergency.
Causes of Myocardial Infarction
The heart is supplied by the coronary arteries. The arise from the aorta, just as it leaves the heart. They become diseased, usually by atherosclerosis. Clots or spasm may develop which suddenly and completely block the coronary arteries. This can lead to localized areas of muscular injury or severe injury. Irregular heart beats can develop, some of which can lead to sudden death.
Signs and Symptoms of Myocardial Infarction
The symptoms of a heart attack classically include chest pain or a heavy, squeezing or crushing feeling in the chest. The pain may radiate into the jaw, the neck and either arm, although the left is most common. The pain may radiate into the upper abdomen. Sometimes, the pain may be predominantly in the neck, jaw, arm or upper abdomen. If it persists or is unusually severe, it demands immediate evaluation. A person with a heart attack may appear ashen, cool and sweating. There may be nausea, dizziness and generalized weakness. Shortness of breath and the sensation of impending doom may occur. In up to 10% of people, the only symptom of a heart attack may be a fainting episode.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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