By Eric Hartwell
Heart disease forms the leading cause of death in the United States â€“ it is even more common than cancer. An estimated one fifth of all deaths in America come as a result of coronary heart disease. Over thirteen million individuals across the nation suffer from coronary heart disease. Every year, over a million people suffer from coronary heart attacks; four out of every ten individuals die from their attacks. Broken down in to temporal statistics, this means that every sixty five seconds, someone in America dies as the result of a coronary heart attack.
Heart attacks are a common form of ischemic heart disease. The World Health Organization estimated in the year 2002 that over twelve percent of all worldwide deaths arose as a result of ischemic heart disease. In developed countries, it is the leading cause of death. In developing countries, however it comes third behind AIDS and lower respiratory infections.
Symptoms of heart attacks include anxiety, a feeling of impending doom, chest pain, sweating, shortness of breath, palpitations, nausea, and vomiting. Oftentimes, heart attack patients will feel sick very suddenly. The symptoms for heart attacks in men are often different from the symptoms in women. Women most often experience fatigue, shortness of breath, and a feeling of weakness. About one third of all heart attacks are silent and do not consist of any chest pain or associated symptoms.
When having a heart attack, immediate treatment options often involve the use of aspirin, oxygen, pain relief, and glycerol trinitrate. The patient is then subjected to numerous diagnostic tests, including chest x-rays, blood tests, and electrocardiograms in which elevated troponin or creatine kinase levels or detected. The patient is then prescribed medications that will break down blood clots that may be blocking the flow of blood to the heart. Or, in more extreme cases, the patient will have to undergo bypass surgery, restoring the blood flow to the blocked coronary artery. Abnormal heart rhythms and other associated complications can be quickly and safely treated in coronary care units.
At risk individuals include middle aged or older people who are smokers, obese, diabetic, overweight, or sedentary. Those who have family histories of heart trouble or high cholesterol should also be on the alert. Ideally, individuals who fit in to this category should receive regular screenings for coronary artery disease from their doctors and receive advice on modifying risk factors, as well as being informed on potential cardiac problems that might arise.
If you suspect that you are having a heart attack, it is vital to act on time to avoid serious consequences. Dial 911 immediately to avoid potential death or permanent disability. Heart attacks are a life threatening situation, and every split second matters. In todayâ€™s world, we have the benefit of new and improved treatments and medications for heart attacks and strokes that were not available in the past. Clot busting medications can stop heart attacks in progress and save lives while also reducing the level of potential disability. But in order to be effective, these medications need to be administered immediately â€“ they will not be effective if they are administered too late. This is why it is essential to seek medical treatment as soon as heart attack signs begin to appear.
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