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Heart Attack

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A heart attack happens when there is a sudden complete blockage of an artery that supplies blood to an area of your heart.

A heart is a muscle, and it needs a good blood supply to keep it healthy.

As we get older, the smooth inner walls of the arteries that supply the blood to the heart can become damaged and narrow due to the build up of fatty materials, called plaque.

When an area of plaque breaks, blood cells and other parts of the blood stick to the damaged area and form blood clots. A heart attack occurs when a blood clot completely blocks the flow of blood and seriously reduces blood flow to the heart muscle. This also results in patients experiencing chest pain.

As a result, some of the heart muscle starts to die.

The longer the blockage is left untreated, the more the heart muscle is damaged. If the blood flow is not restored quickly, the damage to the heart muscle is permanent.

A heart attack is sometimes called a myocardial infarction (MI), acute myocardial infarction, coronary occlusion or coronary thrombosis.

A heart attack happens when there is a sudden complete blockage of an artery that supplies blood to an area of your heart.
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Causes
The underlying cause of a heart attack is coronary heart disease.

Some people may not know they have coronary heart disease until they have a heart attack. For others, a heart attack can happen after weeks, months or years of having coronary heart disease.

Symptoms
Heart attack warning signs can vary from person to person, and they may not always be sudden or severe. Read about heart attack warning signs

Diagnosis
If you are rushed to hospital with a suspected heart attack, your health care team will do some tests to find out if you are having a heart attack. They may include:

electrocardiogram (ECG)
blood tests
chest X-ray
coronary angiogram.
These tests will help them to decide the best treatment for you. Find out more about medical tests

Treatment
Emergency treatment
If you think you’re having a heart attack, call Triple Zero (000). Don’t hang up. Ask the operator for an ambulance. Too many people lose their lives because they wait too long to get treatment for heart attack.

You may be given medicines to help dissolve clots.

There is a high risk of dangerous changes to your heartbeat after the start of a heart attack. The most serious changes stop your heart beating and cause a cardiac arrest. Ambulance or hospital staff may use a defibrillator to give your heart a controlled electric shock that may make it start beating again.

In hospital
In hospital, you will receive treatments that help to reduce damage to your heart, and to help prevent future problems. You may need to have a procedure like:

angioplasty and stent implantation
bypass surgery (also known as coronary artery bypass grafts or CABG).
Read more about heart procedures and devices

Preventing further problems
Medical treatments and healthy lifestyle choices can help your heart attack recovery, greatly reduce your risk of further heart problems, and relieve or control symptoms such as angina. Read about living with heart disease

Cardiac rehabilitation
If you’ve had a heart attack or a procedure, you should be given information about a cardiac rehabilitation program which is another really important step in your recovery.

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What's Your Daily Salt Intake? Even 5 Gram Can Put You at Risk of Heart Attack

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No other ingredient is as basic but as important as salt in the culinary world. Without it, it is almost impossible to hit the right flavour note and make all the ingredients come together into a gastronomic joyride. A little sprinkling of the white crystals into a bowl of salad, steaks, omelette, stir-fries, soups, etc is customary. Now, coming to Indians, the love affair with salt goes another level. It is almost like a compulsory side that has to accompany every meal. Even our snacks and small bites come smeared with salt and we relish every bite of it. Such as namkeens like bhujiya, dalmoot, chana chor garma, and other treats like pakoras, samosas, chaats, etc. Shattering this fairy tale, health experts are connecting this salty Indian habit to their increased cases of high blood pressure and heart diseases. While natural salt may contain good amount of essential minerals, the variety we pick from the stores are highly processed and devoid of any goodness. So consuming large quantities of it is sure to lead to health hazards.

A recent study has revealed that Indians love salt a little too much. The study conducted by an Australian firm suggests that an average Indian consumes about 119% more salt than the WHO recommendation. WHO guidelines suggest that an individual should limit intake of salt to 2gm per day. The average intake by Indians was noted to be 10.98 gms which is more than 5 times the limit. This is alarming given the rise of Cadiovascular Diseases (CVDs)in India in the recent year. Between 2010 and 2013, around 23% of all deaths in India were attributed to Cardiovascular dieases.Conducted by George Institute of Global Health (GIGH), the study was published in The Journal of Hypertension. Doctors have for long discussed and advocated against the excess intake of Salt. Too much salt in your body can lead to a High Blood pressure, which in turn can cause several other heart-related diseases.

The WHO believes that high sodium consumption (more than 2 gm of sodium which is equivalent to 5 gm salt per day) and insufficient potassium intake (less than 3.5 gm per day) contribute to high blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Dr Sanjay Kalra, Consultant Endocrinologist, Bharti Hospital, Karnal, and Vice President, South Asian Federation of Endocrine Societies, said, "Processed and fast foods have become the norm since they are easier to make and carry, and consume. Consumption of pulses, fruits and vegetables has reduced." "A processed food diet is full of sugar, harmful fats, and excess salt leading to conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases.

High blood pressure can also lead to kidney failure by causing extra strain on the arteries," he added. The study also notes that every measure of salt intake made in India except one has provided an estimate above the WHO-recommended maximum consumption level of 5 gm/day. The best estimate obtained by this meta-analysis suggests that average salt intake in India is double the recommended maximum level. Another study - published in the British Medical Journal - has shown that a government-supported national policy on reducing sodium intake by 10 per cent over 10 years can help reduce the burden of several lifestyle disorders including hypertension and heart disease.

Dr K K Aggarwal, National President, Indian Medical Association (IMA), said "While sodium is needed by the body in certain amounts, an excess of it is very harmful. Excess salt is directly related to blood pressure. Increase in salt consumption raises the sodium level, thereby increasing blood pressure." "It can also double the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease, heart failure, and strokes.

So it's about time you started keeping a strict check on your salt intake.

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Gut bacteria linked to causing a heart attack

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The gut microbiome plays an important role in an individual’s risk for atherosclerosis, one of the major causes of heart attack and stroke, says a study.

Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries.

The researchers believe that the new finding could open the door for new treatment options for those patients with unexplained plaque build-up in the arteries.

In order to understand the role that bacteria in the gut may play in atherosclerosis, the researchers examined blood levels of metabolic products of the intestinal microbiome.

They studied 316 people from different groups of patients, including those with unexplained atherosclerosis, who do not have any traditional risk factors but still have high levels of plaque burden.

“What we found was that patients with unexplained atherosclerosis had significantly higher blood levels of these toxic metabolites that are produced by the intestinal bacteria,” said David Spence, Professor at Western University, London, Canada.

The researchers measured the build-up of plaque in the arteries using carotid ultrasound.

The study, published in the journal Atherosclerosis, noted that these differences could not be explained by diet or kidney function, pointing to a difference in the make-up of their intestinal bacteria.

“The finding, and studies we have performed since, present us with an opportunity to use probiotics to counter these compounds in the gut and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Gregor Reid, Professor at Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western University.

Repopulation of the intestinal microbiome is another novel approach to the treatment of atherosclerosis that arises from this study, Spence added.

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Smoking raises lifetime risk of irregular heart rate

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Smoking and alcohol consumption increase lifetime risk of a rapid and irregular heart rate, called atrial fibrillation, which can lead to a stroke, dementia, heart failure and other complications, a new study says. The results, published in the journal The BMJ, showed that that among individuals aged 55 years or older, the overall lifetime risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) was 37 per cent and was influenced by the burden of lifestyle risk factors such smoking and drinking alcohol.

“We examined the lifetime risk of atrial fibrillation, which measures the cumulative risk of developing a disease during the remainder of an individual’s life,” said study co-author Ludovic Trinquart, Assistant Professor at Boston University School of Public Health in Massachusetts, US.

“It is essential to look at lifetime risks in addition to short-term risks, because it may enable early identification of individuals at higher long-term risk and facilitate lifestyle change counseling,” Trinquart said. In the study involving more than 5,000 participants, the researchers identified smoking, alcohol consumption, body mass index, blood pressure, diabetes, and history of myocardial infarction or heart failure as risk factors.

“Studying atrial fibrillation is important because it is emerging as a global epidemic; it also imposes considerable socioeconomic burden. Atrial fibrillation hospitalisations follow an exponential increase and have surpassed heart failure admissions,” Trinquart said.

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4 Common Symptoms Of Heart Attack In Men

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Symptoms of heart attack among men are many. Paying careful heed to the symptoms may help prevent a fatal and sad situation.

Heart diseases are considered to be one of the major causes for death among men. However, heart attacks need not always be fatal.

At times, they aren't severe enough to slow you down and in such cases, the trick is to take the symptoms seriously.

Every individual will have different symptoms of a heart attack. In some people, heart attacks can be pretty sudden. But in others, there can be plenty of warnings.

Here are some common symptoms of heart attack in men:

1. You're physically exhausted
In case you feel tired than usual, or if it gets difficult for you to perform daily chores, it might signal something serious. Weakness in the left ventricle of the heart can contribute to your feeling tired all the time. If the ventricle stops working, your heart will stop pumping blood to your body, resulting in a heart attack.

2. You experience cramps in legs and hips while walking
A cramping or burning sensation in your hips and thighs might signal a peripheral artery disease. Under the condition, the arteries narrow down and limit flow of blood in your limbs, stomach and head. Less blood flow is the reason why you feel discomfort in your legs.

3. Your stomach feels sick
Conditions like burping regularly, indigestion and nausea can also signal a problem with your heart, if they happen way too regularly. This is because the nerves in gastrointestinal tract are connected with the nerves in your heart. Hence, a problem in your heart might come off as a discomfort in your stomach.

4. Chest pain
Chest pain is a common symptom of heart attack in both men and women. The chest pain is mild and causes slight discomfort in the beginning. However, chest pain can happen because of reasons not related to the heart as well. If you experience chest pain in the middle of a stressful situation, it might signal a heart attack.

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