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Heart Attack: Risk Factors and Signs You Must Not Ignore

Updated on 31 July 2019

Heart attack is caused by blockage of arteries that supply blood to the heart. This blockage is most often a result of a buildup of cholesterol, fat and other substances in the form of plaque. When this plaque breaks free, a blood clot is formed. Parts of heart muscles are damaged or destroyed due to interrupted blood flow. This can lead to a situation where the person might be required to undergo heart attack bypass surgery. Also known as myocardial infarction, heart attacks can be fatal. 

Symptoms of Heart Attack

Most common signs of a heart attack include-

  • Fatigue
  • Cold sweat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sudden dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Indigestion, nausea, abdominal pain or heartburn
  • Tightness, pressure, pain or aching sensation in arms or chest that may lead to neck, back or jaw.

Emergency help must be availed immediately if any of these symptoms persist. The severity or presence of symptoms varies from person to person. Recurrent chest pain or pressure that’s triggered by exertion and relieved by rest is the earliest warning sign of a heart attack.

Risk factors

There are several risk factors that increase the chances of having a heart attack. These factors are as follows:

  • Age

Men above 45 and women above 55 years of age are at a higher risk of developing a heart attack as compared to younger men and women.

  • Tobacco Users

Those who smoke or have long-term exposure to second-hand smoke are at a higher risk.

  • High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can cause damage to the arteries leading to your heart.

  • High Cholesterol or Triglyceride Levels

While bad cholesterol can narrow down your arteries, good cholesterol helps lower your risk of developing a heart attack. A high level of triglycerides also elevates the risk.

  • Obesity

Obese people have high triglycerides, blood pressure and cholesterol levels in their body. Most of them are also diabetic. All these increase the risk of a heart attack.

  • Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is often a result of obesity, high blood pressure and sugar. The chances of having a heart attack are doubled in people with metabolic syndrome.

  • Family History

If your parents, siblings or grandparents had heart attacks, chances are high you might have it as well.

  • Lack of Physical Activity

People who lead an active lifestyle have improved cardiovascular fitness as compared to those who are inactive.

  • Stress

Stress leads to conditions that might elevate your risk of having a heart attack.

  • Illicit Drug Use

Stimulant drugs such as amphetamines and cocaine can trigger spasms in your coronary arteries that can lead to a heart attack.

  • History of Preeclampsia

The condition leads to high blood pressure, especially during pregnancy which increases one’s chances of a heart attack.

  • Autoimmune Condition

Conditions such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis also increase the risk of a heart attack. If you think you are at risk of a heart attack or have faced the symptoms mentioned above, it is important that you consult the experts at the best heart care hospital. Only the best heart hospitals in India must be trusted for ailments related to the heart.

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