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Heart Attack

A heart attack occurs when a blocked artery prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching a section of the heart. If the blocked artery is not reopened quickly, the part of the heart normally nourished by that artery begins to die. The longer a person goes without treatment, the greater the damage.

Symptoms of a heart attack may be immediate and intense. More often, though, symptoms start slowly and persist for hours, days or weeks before a heart attack. Unlike with sudden cardiac arrest, the heart usually does not stop beating during a heart attack.

The heart attack symptoms in women can be different than men

Cardiac Arrest

Sudden cardiac arrest occurs suddenly and often without warning. It is triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).

With its pumping action disrupted, the heart cannot pump blood to the brain, lungs and other organs. Seconds later, a person loses consciousness and has no pulse. Death occurs within minutes if the victim does not receive treatment.



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If you call , treatment will start in the ambulance with aspirin and other medicines.

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In the hospital, the doctor will work right away to return blood flow to your heart. You may get medicines to break up and prevent blood clots. You may get nitroglycerin and other medicines that make your arteries wider. This helps improve blood flow and relieve symptoms, such as chest pain or pressure. You also may get pain medicine and oxygen.

Your test results will help your doctor decide about more treatment. You might have angioplasty or bypass surgery to improve blood flow to your heart.

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During angioplasty, doctors inflate a small balloon to open the artery. A stent, a wire mesh tube, may be permanently placed in the artery to keep it open. For hospitals not equipped to do angioplasty quickly, drugs may be used to dissolve blood clots, but more hospitals are making the procedure available in a timely manner, Bolger said.

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After you get out of the hospital, you will continue to take medicines that lower your risk of a heart attack. Medicine may include beta-blockers, aspirin or other medicines to prevent blood clots, blood pressure medicine, and cholesterol

If your doctor has not set you up with a cardiac rehab program, talk to him or her about whether that is right for you. In cardiac rehab, you will get education and support that help you make new, healthy habits, such as eating healthy food and getting more exercise.

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To determine what’s causing your symptoms, a doctor will take a careful medical history and give you a physical examination. If the doctor suspects an acute coronary syndrome, the following tests will be performed:

A doctor will give you a physical exam and ask about your symptoms and past health. He or she also will ask about your family’s health. You will have several tests to find out what is causing your symptoms.

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An electrocardiogram can show whether you have angina or have had a heart attack. This test measures the electrical signals that control your heart’s rhythm. Small pads or patches will be taped to your chest and other areas of your body. They connect to a machine that traces the signals onto paper. The doctor will look for certain changes on the graph to see if your heart is not getting enough blood or if you are having a heart attack.

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A blood test will look for a rise in cardiac enzymes. The heart releases these substances when it is damaged.
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In some cases, you might have a test called a cardiac perfusion scan to see if your heart is getting enough blood. It also can be used to check for areas of damage  after a heart attack.

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If tests confirm blood flow to the heart has been blocked, doctors will work quickly to reopen the artery.



Call or other emergency services immediately if you have symptoms of acute coronary syndrome. These may include:

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After you call , the operator may tell you to chew 1 adult-strength or 2 to 4 low-dose aspirin. Wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself.



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Unstable angina happens when blood flow to the heart is suddenly slowed by narrowed coronary arteries. Or small blood clots form in the coronary arteries and slow blood flow. Typically, there is no damage to the heart muscle. It often happens when you are at rest.

You may have had stable angina You knew when to expect your symptoms, such as when you exercised. Stable angina usually goes away when you rest or take your angina medicine. But the symptoms of unstable angina may not go away with rest or medicine. It may get worse or happen at times that it didn’t before. Unstable angina symptoms may mean that you are having a heart attack.

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A heart attack means

heart attack means a coronary artery has been blocked and the heart has been damaged. Without blood flow and oxygen, part of the heart starts to die.



The majority of cases are due to there being some narrowing in the blood vessels supplying the heart. This is usually due to the presence of some atheroma within the lining of the artery. Atheroma is like fatty patches or plaques that develop within the inside lining of arteries. (This is similar to water pipes that get furred up.)

Plaques of atheroma may gradually form over a number of years in one or more places in the coronary arteries. Each plaque has an outer firm shell with a soft inner fatty core. Atheroma leads to the blood vessels narrowing.
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Various other uncommon conditions can also block a coronary artery.

For example:

Inflammation of the coronary arteries (rare).

A blood clot forming elsewhere in the body (for example, in a heart chamber) and travelling to a coronary artery where it gets stuck.

Complications from heart surgery.

A stab wound to the heart.

Taking cocaine, which can cause a coronary artery to go into spasm.

Some other rare heart problems.

Chest pain caused by acute coronary syndromes can come on suddenly, as is the case with a heart attack. Other times, the pain can be unpredictable or get worse even with rest, both hallmark symptoms of unstable angina. People who experience chronic chest pain resulting from years of cholesterol buildup in their arteries can develop an acute coronary syndrome if a blood clot forms on
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What causes acute coronary syndrome?

Acute coronary syndrome happens because blood flow has slowed or stopped in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Acute coronary syndrome is typically caused by coronary artery diseaseCoronary artery disease, also called heart disease, is caused by atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

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Atherosclerosis causes a substance called plaque to build up in the coronary arteries. Plaque causes angina by narrowing the arteries. The narrowing limits blood flow to the heart muscle. A heart attack happens when blood flow is completely blocked.



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Ask your doctor to evaluate you before resuming sexual activity.

If you’ve had heart failure or a heart attack, cardiac rehabilitation and regular physical activity can reduce the risk of complications related to sexual activity.021.

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If you’re thinking about starting birth control or getting pregnant, be sure to talk to your doctor first.

Don’t skip the medications that could improve cardiovascular symptoms because you’re concerned they could impact your sex drive or function. Your heart health should come first!

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If you’re a post-menopausal woman with cardiovascular disease, it’s generally safe to use estrogen that’s topically or vaginally inserted for the treatment of painful intercourse.

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What is Afib?

Have you ever felt your heart flutter, race or skip a beat? Most of us have at some point, But if this happens more frequently, you may have atrial fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation (Afib) is a problem with the heart’s rhythm – the way it beats. When someone is “in Afib,” the heartbeats in a rapid, chaotic way.

What are some of the signs & symptoms?

Have you ever felt your heart flutter, race or skip a beat? Most of us have at some point, But if this happens more frequently, you may have atrial fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation (Afib) is a problem with the heart’s rhythm – the way it beats. When someone is “in Afib,” the heartbeats in a rapid, chaotic way.

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very rapid or irregular heartbeats – some women say they feel their heart flip-flopping in their chests, skipping a beat or fluttering

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Listen to your body, Afib can occur every once and a while (called paroxysmal atrial fibrillation) or all the time (chronic atrial fibrillation).

Either way, be sure to tell your health care provider about all of your symptoms.

Millions of Women live with atrial fibrillation (Afib). Even though it is more common in men, women with Afib are more likely to have a stroke. Untreated, Afib can also lead to heart failure and chronic fatigue.

Risk factors:

Afib is more likely as you get older. On average, women tend to develop Afib around 75 years of age (vs 67 for men). However, younger women can also have it. Other risk factors can include:

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How is Afib diagnosed?

Your doctor will first ask how you have been feeling and perform a physical exam. If you’ve noticed chest pains, breathlessness or a racing heart, be prepared to tell him or her when they happen (laying down, climbing stairs, etc.) and how often.

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There are a number of things you can do to live well with Afib and prevent problems.

A

Pay attention to risk factors for Afib, heart disease and stroke. Make sure your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are stable.

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B

Eat a healthy diet.

C

Exercise regularly and monitor your weight.

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D

Know what triggers an episode. Doing so will help you prevent or better anticipate Afib.
Common risks that triggers an AFib episode: alcohol, caffeine, upper respiratory infections and extreme stress.

E

Learn how to pace yourself. Most women living with Afib will tell you it is a livable condition

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F

Have a plan to stay calm. Anxiety can make episodes much worse.

G

Take your medications as prescribed.

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H

Know your risk of stroke & other health problems

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Possible treatments include lifestyle changes and medications and/or medical procedures

  • blood-thinning medications to prevent clots
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  • heart rate control medications that bring the heart rate to a normal level
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  • heart rhythm control medications that restore or maintain normal heart rhythm
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  • electrical cardioversion –paddles are applied to the chest to shock the heart back into a normal rhythm
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  • catheter ablation – wires are inserted into veins in the leg or arm and threaded to the heart to alter abnormal areas that may be causing the abnormal heart rhythm
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  • surgical maze – small cuts are made in the heart, creating a “maze” that prevents the abnormal beats from controlling the heart. This is a very effective treatment, but because this requires open heart surgery, it is often used when other options have failed.
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  • It’s not a one-time episode!

    Afib is often an ongoing condition that needs to be managed. Women say having regular appointments with their cardiologists and taking medicines to steady their hearts is something you need to follow to maintain a healthy life.



  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
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  • Sudden confusion, or trouble speaking or understanding
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  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
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  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance or coordination
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  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
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You should never wait more than five minutes to call emergency if you experience even one of the signs above. Remember, you could be having a stroke even if you’re not experiencing all of the symptoms. And remember to check the time.

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Call Emergency; Heart attack and stroke are life-or-death, every second counts.

If you suspect, you or someone you are with has any of the symptoms of heart attack or stroke immediately call emergency so an ambulance can be sent.

Also note that when someone experience a stroke, if given a clot-busting drug within 3 to 4.5 hours of the start of symptoms, it may improve the chances of getting better faster.



Due to a family history or other risk factors, even a woman who has always thought of herself as perfectly healthy can find herself suddenly experiencing the symptoms of stroke.

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A stroke happens when either a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked by a clot or the vessel bursts. When either of these occur, the brain does not receive the oxygen-rich blood it needs and brain cells begin to die, and quickly. That’s why it’s so important to know the signs and symptoms of stroke.

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