What is a coronary heart attack?
Are you at the risk of a coronary heart attack?
Here are some insights to help you...
A heart attack happens when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle itself (the myocardium) is severely reduced or even stopped entirely.
The medical term for a heart attack is myocardial infarction.
The reduction or stoppage of blood supply happens when one or more of the coronary arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle is blocked.
This may be caused by the buildup of plaque (deposits of fat-like substances), also known as atherosclerosis.
The plaque may eventually burst, tear or rupture, creating a "situation" where a blood clot forms and blocks the artery.
This may lead to a heart attack.
A heart attack is also sometimes known as a coronary thrombosis or coronary occlusion.
It is a medical fact that heart disease is among the most dangerous health hazards facing people 50 yrs and older in America.
Clinical studies, laboratory investigations and a number of surveys show that certain personal characteristics and lifestyles can lead to increased dangers of a heart attack (coronary heart disease).
These danger signs are called "risk factors". The well established risk factors are high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, cigarette smoking and diabetes mellitus.
Other risk factors that may increase or lead to the risk of having a heart attack are obesity, a sedentary life-style, an aggressive response to stress, and certain drugs.
In the past two decades, millions of Americans have learned about these risk factors and have tried to decrease them by seeking medical attention and by changing their lifestyles.
Many adults have stopped smoking. The medical control of high blood pressure has greatly improved.
The average cholesterol level of the population has decreased continually over the last two decades, probably due to changes in dietary habits and increased exercise.
This attempt to modify risk factors almost certainly has contributed to the declining death rate from heart disease in the United States.
Overall, heart-related problems have declined about 25 percent in the last decade.
Some of this decrease undoubtedly is due to better medical care of heart attack victims, but it is likely that a sizable percentage is related to modification of risk factors.
The entire population has become more aware of the seriousness of heart disease and coronary heart problems.
CPR training is offered in schools, places of business, and church and community functions, and everyone seems to recognize that prevention of coronary heart disease is a partnership between the public and the medical community.
There are a number of factors implicated in coronary heart disease. Some of these may raise coronary risk by accentuating the major risk factors already discussed.
Others may act in ways not understood. Still others may be linked mistakenly to coronary risk.
Obesity predisposes individuals to coronary heart disease. Some of the reasons for this are known, but others are not.
The major causes of obesity in Americans are excessive intake of calories and inadequate exercise.
When caloric intake is excessive, some of the excess frequently is saturated fat, which further raises the blood cholesterol. Thus, obesity contributes to higher coronary risk in a variety of ways.
Most of the major risk factors are silent. They must be sought actively, and much of the responsibility for their detection lies with each of us as individuals.
Regular checkups are particularly necessary if there is a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels or diabetes.
May these health insights into heart disease help you to live a healthier and happier life.
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