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Heart Attack/ Failure Initial Care

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What do you mean by Heart Attack?

A Heart Attack is the state of the heart when blood flowing to the heart is stopped. This blockage of the bloodflow can occur because of the formation of plaque in the arteries, due to the buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances. This interrupted bloodflow can lead to damage or destroy the heart muscle.

Heart Attack, which is also called Myocardial Infraction, can be fatal for those patients if timely treatment is not administered.

Heart attack symptoms

The most common symptoms of a heart attack are:

  • Discomfort in the chest like pressure and pain starting from the chest and then spreads to the neck, jaw or back.
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion, heartburn or abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness

Heart attack risk factors

The risk factors can be classified into:

  • Major Risk Factors:
    These risk factors are the ones that cannot be controlled. It could either be ones that the patient is born with or those that cannot be changed. These include:
    • Increase Of Age: As the age of the patient increases there are chances of heart attack increases. Men above the age of 45 are prone to attacks while the risks are at a higher rate for women after menopause.
    • Gender: Men are at a higher risk of getting heart attacks than women. They have them at an earlier stage than women.
    • Heredity: Patients with parents who have had heart attacks tend to have heart attacks themselves.
  • Modifiable Risk Factors:
    These are risk factors that can be managed, altered and then controlled. These include:
    • Tobacco Smoke: Smoking is a major contributor to coronary heart diseases, affecting both active smokers and passive smokers. The active ones are affected more than the passive ones, who doesn’t smoke but are exposed to tobacco smoke. Smoking increases Blood Pressure and chances for blood clots, decreases stamina.
    • High Blood Cholesterol: Higher the cholesterol, higher the chance of heart attacks. The total Cholesterol is calculated using the values Low-density-Lipoprotein (LDL), High-density-Lipoprotein (HDL) and Triglycerides. Cholesterol level can always be maintained through diet, activity and medications.
      • LDL, or ‘Bad’ cholesterol is advised to be lower than the permissible values.
      • HDL, or ‘Good’ cholesterol should have a high value for preventing
      • Triglycerides are also associated with the fatty deposits in the blood vessels.
    • High Blood Pressure: increases the workload on the heart, in turn causing the hear muscle to thicken and stiffen. This stiffening can cause the heart to not function properly leading to heart attacks. Maintaining normal blood pressure is the key to reducing heart attacks.
    • Physical Inactivity: Low physical increases the chance for heart attacks. A regular, moderate physical is the least recommended factor to avoid heart attacks.
    • Obesity: the patients with excess fat leading to a high BMI or Body Mass Index thus increasing the chances for heart attacks. So losing weight and in turn the fat stored, can lead to a better chance from heart attacks.
    • Diabetes: If the Diabetes level is not controlled properly, increases the risk of coronary heart diseases.
  • Contributing Risk Factors
    Other factors contributing to risks of heart attacks are:
    • Stress
    • Alcohol
    • Diet and Nutrition

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