Heart Attack


Heart attack occurs when there is a sudden loss of blood flow to the heart muscle. Most heart attacks are caused by coronary heart disease.

Coronary heart disease

  • The coronary arteries (vessels that supply blood to the heart) get narrow due to deposition of fatty materials and cholesterol (plaque).
  • When the plaque breaks, it causes a blood clot to form
  • This blood clot blocks the blood flow to the heart leading to heart attack.

Risk Factors

Non-modifiable

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Family medical history

Modifiable

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Physical inactivity
  • Being obese
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Excessive alcohol intake

How is heart attack diagnosed?

After the initial blood test, several invasive and non-invasive tests can be performed to confirm diagnosis of heart disease.

Non-invasive tests

  • ECG: An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a short test that monitors the electrical activity of the heart on a strip of paper. It takes about 5-10 minutes to perform. 
  • Echocardiogram: Echocardiogram is performed to assess heart valves and heart muscles. It is performed by a specialist doctor and takes 15-20 minutes to perform.
  • Chest X-ray: Chest X-ray is performed to determine the cause of shortness of breath and chest pain.
  • Stress test: During a stress test, you will be asked to ride a stationary bicycle, walk or run on a treadmill for several minutes. At the same time doctor will monitor your body’s reaction to exercise as your heart rate increases.
  • Holter monitor: Holter monitor is a device that can monitor heart activity for up to 24 or more hours.
  • CT scan A computed tomography (CT) scan is performed to diagnose several different types of heart diseases, for example, to check for fatty deposit in coronary vessels.

Invasive Test

  • Coronary angiography and cardiac catheterization: A long flexible tube (catheter) is inserted through a blood vessel in your groin or other parts of your body, which is then moved towards your heart to assess coronary artery for any narrowing or blood clot.

Preventive measures

  • Stop smoking
  • Control blood pressure (Hypertension)
  • Control cholesterol levels in the blood (hyperlipidemia)
  • Maintain blood sugar levels in the blood (Diabetes mellitus)
Diabetes
Fasting plasma glucose ≥ 7.0 mmol/L (126 mg/dl)
or
2-h plasma glucose ≥ 11.1 mmol/L (200 mg/dl)
or
HbA1c ≥ 6.5%
  • Do regular exercise
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
    • Body Mass Index (BMI)

      Healthy BMI should be between 18.5 – 22.9Kg/m²