A heart attack is a serious medical emergency that occurs when blood flow to the heart muscle is severely or entirely restricted. Typically, this occurs when the arteries are narrowed due to a buildup of fat and cholesterol, called plaque. This process, known as hardening of the arteries, can lead to a piece of plaque breaking off and forming a clot. The clot blocks blood flow to the heart, depriving it of crucial oxygen and nutrients. When the heart is starved for these essentials, it is called ischemia. A heart attack occurs when ischemia damages or kills part of the heart muscle.
Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and returns. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. This may be accompanied by tightness in the neck, back or arm, fatigue, shortness of breath, breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness. If you suspect you or someone you are with is having a heart attack call 911 immediately.
Although women can also experience crushing chest pressure when having a heart attack, that’s not always the case. Instead, women often experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen or upper back, dizziness or extreme fatigue.
The following factors increase an individual’s risk of developing heart disease and having a heart attack:
An EKG is a quick and easy, non-invasive procedure conducted routinely at Chinatown Cardiology offices to detect and monitor various heart diseases. An EKG is usually recommended when a person experiences
The test is performed with electrodes placed on the patient’s chest, arms and legs to interpret electrical activity of the heart. Each heartbeat is accompanied by an electrical signal that spreads from the top of the heart to the bottom. As the signal travels, it causes the heart to contract and pump blood. EKG recordings give the doctor information about how your heart is working – its heart rate, regularity of heartbeats, size and position of the chambers of the heart, a presence of any damage to the heart, and effects of drugs or devices used to regulate the heart.