Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What IS a Heart Attack?

Time to do some education!

So, what exactly IS a "heart attack"? Is it when your heart jumps out of your body and punches you in the face? No, but sometimes it can feel like that!

A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction (MI), happens when one (or more than one) of the arteries that supply the heart with blood, and thus, oxygen, gets blocked. This blockage is what causes the heart attack, and its symptoms (chest pain, nausea, vomiting, arm pain, jaw pain, or stomach pain).

(Quick background here...blood carries oxygen, oxygen gives our muscles the ability to function. If there is lack of blood, there is lack of oxygen, and thus, the muscle cannot work..or even die).

Now, the next logical question is what causes the blockage? Remember all of the posts I have about diet, exercise and "knowing your numbers"? This is why... The blockage from the arteries is getting thicker and harder from a buildup of fat and cholesterol (plaque) over time. This plaque can then rupture, causing a clot, and then occluding blood flow to part of the heart.

Usually, when a heart attack happens, it makes the person more vulnerable to arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeat, which can be life-threatening also. (You know the thing you see on TV when they put the "shocker" things (defibrillator pads) on the persons chest and say "CLEAR!"...yeah..that). This is bad. Really bad. There is a statistic that says 90% of patients who have a heart attack will suffer from some sort of arrhythmia during or soon after the attack, although not all of these are potentially fatal.

So, whats the point? One, for education. Two, to make you think about reading all of the tiresome posts I write about diet, exercise, and weight loss. You're heart is my #1 priority, and I will keep doing any thing I can to educate everyone and offer some form of (fun) guidance.

Coming soon....what WE do for a Heart Attack...(and the whole reason I became a doc!)

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