In today’s world it is not uncommon for people to suffer from a heart attack. In fact millions of people are suffering from it on an annual basis. A myocardial infarction which is the name for a heart attack, is known to damage the heart muscle on a permanent basis. Actually the word “myo” means the muscle and the word “cardial” is in reference to the actual heart. Infarction can be defined as the tissue death which happens due to a dearth of blood supply.
Let us find out what actually happens when a person has a heart attack:
The thing you should know is that the heart muscles actually needs a steady supply of blood that is rich in oxygen to keep it nourished. The arteries that are in the coronary area do this job by providing the heart with this supply of blood that is vital. In case you suffer from coronary artery disease, these arteries will start to narrow down. Which in turn would mean that the blood may not be able to flow as it should do. Plaques consisting of proteins, fatty things, calcium as well as inflammatory cells will coat the interiors of the arteries are formed in different sizes. These deposits for plaque can be soft and squishy on the inside and hard on the outer side.
As the plaque becomes hard, this causes the outer shell to break and this means that platelets or disc shaped particles that are present in the blood that help in clotting will arrive to this place and a blood clot will form surrounding the plaque. There will be a stage when the clots will block the artery and this means that the heart muscles will not get the oxygen that it needs. This will cause the heart muscle cells to die in a very short time that results in damage to the heart which results in a heart attack.
Though not common, heart attacks can occur due to a spasm occurring in the coronary artery. What happens during a spasm in the coronary area is that the arteries will spasm intermittently or a restrict , which will reduce the supply of blood to the heart muscle (ischemia). This could happen when at rest and also happen to people who do not have coronary heart disease of any significance.
Every coronary artery provides blood to a particular part of the heart muscle. The extent of damage that will occur to the heart muscle will rely on the size of the area that is being supplied to by the artery that is blocked and also the time lag between the actual injury and time of treatment.
The heart muscle starts to heal quite soon after the heart attack and can take as much as two months. Like it happens with a wound on the skin, the wound in the heart will also heal and a scar will appear on the area that is damaged. But what happens is that the scar tissue does not contract and this affects the ability of the heart to pump once a heart attack has been suffered depending on the place and extent of the scar.
Some symptoms of a heart attack also include:
- An uncomfortable or heavy feeling, sometimes with pain in the arm, chest area right under the breastbone
- A feeling of discomfort that spreads to jaw, throat, back and arm.
- A choking and burning feeling akin to heartburn
- Nausea or giddiness and sweating
- Difficulty with breathing, weakness and an anxious feeling
- Quickening or erratic heartbeats
When a person has a heart attack these symptoms continue over half an hour and will not be relieved even after taking nitroglycerin under the tongue and/or rest. It is known for some people to have a heart attack without any obvious symptoms being present.