In case of a massive heart attack, it helps to know the symptoms of such a medical condition, so that you can help yourself or others get immediate medical treatment. This article provides an overview of the symptoms of massive heart attack.
The heart plays a major role in the circulation of blood, oxygen, and essential nutrients throughout the body, while the oxygen-rich blood is supplied to the heart by the coronary arteries. If due to some reasons, adequate amount of blood does not reach the heart, then the heart muscle tissues are damaged because of the lack of oxygen. This kind of damage is responsible for causing electrical instability in heart muscle tissue.
This in turn, results in electrical disturbance in the lower chambers of the heart. As a result, the heart may stop functioning, and the oxygen and blood supply to the brain gets affected. If this continues even for five minutes, then the patient may fall unconscious or may even die within few minutes. The worst part is that massive heart attack symptoms are observed all of a sudden.
A coronary artery disease called atherosclerosis is the main cause of heart attacks. In this condition, plaque gets accumulated on the inside walls of the arteries, and makes it narrow and hard. As a result, proper blood flow to the heart is not possible. And that has an adverse impact on the myocardium(or the middle layer of the heart wall), which controls the blood flow to and from the heart.
Moreover, the heart’s ability of regular contraction and expansion is badly impaired. Thus, it results in massive coronary heart attack, which is also known as myocardial infarction. Formation of blood clot inside the artery or coronary artery spasms are the other two causes. High blood pressure, diabetes, chronic kidney diseases, stress, heavy alcohol consumption, high fat diet, stress etc. are some of the factors that increase the risk of massive heart attacks.
The most obvious sign of a massive heart attack is a squeezing chest pain which is initially felt at the central part of the chest. It worsens with every passing minute. It gets radiated towards the neck, shoulder, back, jaw, and the arms. Along with the pain, patients feel a sense of tightness, fullness, and burning sensation in the chest. The painful symptoms in chest is accompanied by breathing difficulty because of which they struggle hard to catch their breath. They take shallow breaths irregularly which may even stop intermittently.
Besides, there are some other signs and symptoms which are less common. Any person who suffers a heart attack may not have all these symptoms. In other words, these symptoms may not occur together in every individual cases. A few less common symptoms are as follows:
- Excessive sweating
- Low blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Cold hands and feet
- Low urine output
- Loss of consciousness
The symptoms in men and women are more or less the same. However, sometimes, a few additional symptoms are often observed in women. They are: heartburn, abdominal pain, clammy skin, dizziness, unusual weakness, etc.
A massive heart attack needs emergency treatment. One cannot afford to waste a single minute in this condition. Call the local emergency number for help. Till the time the emergency help arrives, you can give the patient an aspirin tablet. This will prevent the formation of blood clots in the coronary arteries. If nitroglycerin has been prescribed to the patient in the past, then it can also be administered which helps decrease the pain. If you find that the patient has become unconscious, then it is advisable to start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Press the patient’s chest about 2 inches at the rate of 100 compressions per minute. This is beneficial for supplying oxygen to the brain. If you have prior training in CPR, then you can provide rescue breaths too. On the way to the hospital, an automatic external defibrillator (AED) can be used, which shocks the heart to restore its normal rhythm. In the hospital, the patient will be treated with medicines which prevents heart failure. Along with the medications, other treatment options include coronary angioplasty or coronary bypass surgery.
Healthy lifestyle changes are essential for recovery, which includes a low-fat diet, stress-free life, and regular exercises. Also, the blood pressure and blood sugar level needs to be monitored regularly. Earlier, massive heart attack cases used to have a high death rate. However, today, better awareness among people about its symptoms has ensured timely treatment for such patients. As a result, it has helped a lot to bring about marked improvement in the survival rate of the people.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.