Having a heart attack is one of the scariest life events for people, but with prompt, expert treatment, you can survive and live for many more happy and productive years. Henock Saint-Jacques, MD, FACC, is a highly experienced heart specialist at Harlem Cardiology on Madison Avenue in New York City who has considerable expertise in treating patients who experience heart attacks to help restore their health. Call the East Harlem office or schedule an appointment online today to learn more.
A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, is a potentially fatal condition that occurs when there’s a blockage that prevents blood flow through your heart.
Symptoms of a heart attack include:
The feeling of pain and pressure can spread into your arms and may go into your neck and back as well. If you experience any symptoms that indicate you could be having a heart attack, it’s vital to call 911 for emergency medical attention.
A heart attack is usually the result of a blockage in one or more coronary arteries, although in some cases, it occurs due to a spasm of the coronary artery.
The most common cause of a blockage is a buildup of plaque, a substance composed largely of cholesterol. Plaque buildup occurs gradually and leads to a narrowing of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, which causes coronary artery disease (CAD).
If an area of plaque ruptures, it forms a blood clot that can block blood flow through the coronary artery. This blockage causes ischemia, meaning your heart isn’t getting enough oxygen and nutrients.
Several factors increase your chances of suffering a heart attack, including:
Heart attacks can result in heart failure or the development of arrhythmias and may cause cardiac arrest.
Initially, you might receive medications such as aspirin, thrombolytics, antiplatelet agents, or heparin to dissolve blood clots and reduce the stickiness of your blood. You may also receive drugs that improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, and relax your heart muscle.
You might need surgery to treat a heart attack. Coronary angioplasty and stenting aim to open up the blocked artery and keep it open.
In some cases, you might need coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), a surgical procedure that involves taking a healthy piece of an artery from elsewhere and using it to bypass the blocked artery.
Regular screening can detect the signs of coronary artery disease that may lead to a heart attack, so call Harlem Cardiology on Madison Avenue or book an appointment online today for a checkup.