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Heart Attack

Q
How can I prevent a heart attack?
A
AGE2B consultant
0
Tips for better heart health include: •       Going for regular health check-ups with your doctor. •       Taking steps to manage other health conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. •       Quitting smoking and avoiding tobacco in any form. Heart disease risk reduces by 50 percent just 12 months after someone quits smoking. •       […] Read More

Tips for better heart health include:

•       Going for regular health check-ups with your doctor.

•       Taking steps to manage other health conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

•       Quitting smoking and avoiding tobacco in any form. Heart disease risk reduces by 50 percent just 12 months after someone quits smoking.

•       Avoiding illegal drugs, especially stimulants, such as cocaine and amphetamines.

•       Losing weight if overweight.

•       Engaging in at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity, such as walking, every day.

•       Eating a balanced diet and visiting a dietician if necessary for dietary advice.

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Q
When should I call emergency services?
A
AGE2B consultant
0
Anyone who suspects symptoms of a heart attack should call emergency services immediately. Only 65 percent of women would call emergency services if they suspected they were having a heart attack, according to a 2012 survey. Emergency treatment can save lives. Anyone noticing the following symptoms should call an ambulance immediately, especially if the signs […] Read More

Anyone who suspects symptoms of a heart attack should call emergency services immediately.

Only 65 percent of women would call emergency services if they suspected they were having a heart attack, according to a 2012 survey.

Emergency treatment can save lives. Anyone noticing the following symptoms should call an ambulance immediately, especially if the signs are present for 5 minutes or more:

•       chest pain or discomfort;

•       pain in the upper body, including arms, back, neck, jaw, or shoulder;

•       difficulty breathing;

•       dizziness;

•       extreme weakness;

•       indigestion or heartburn;

•       nausea;

•       rapid or irregular heartbeat;

•       shortness of breath;

•       sweating;

•       unexplained anxiety;

•       vomiting.

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Q
When should I see a doctor?
A
AGE2B consultant
0
Generally, all women over 40 years of age should have regular checks with their doctors. This helps identify risk factors early so that they can be treated. Early intervention reduces the chances of a cardiac event. Anyone who notices the warning signs of a heart attack, such as the following, should see a doctor immediately: […] Read More

Generally, all women over 40 years of age should have regular checks with their doctors. This helps identify risk factors early so that they can be treated. Early intervention reduces the chances of a cardiac event.

Anyone who notices the warning signs of a heart attack, such as the following, should see a doctor immediately:

•       unusual fatigue;

•       shortness of breath;

•       upper body pain.

A doctor will note symptoms, check blood pressure and heart rate, and may order blood tests or use an electrocardiogram (EKG) to see the heart’s electrical activity.

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Q
What are the risk factors for a heart attack in women?
A
AGE2B consultant
0
•        Age: Those aged 55 years or older are at greater risk of a heart attack. This may be because hormones provide some protection from heart disease before menopause. •        Family history: Those with a male relative who had a heart attack by the age of 55, or a female relative who had one by […] Read More

•        Age: Those aged 55 years or older are at greater risk of a heart attack. This may be because hormones provide some protection from heart disease before menopause.

•        Family history: Those with a male relative who had a heart attack by the age of 55, or a female relative who had one by 65, are considered to have a family history of heart attack and are at increased risk.

•        Health status: Certain markers, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, increase the risk of a heart attack in both males and females.

•        Medical conditions: Those with conditions, including diabetes, obesity, and autoimmune disorders are more likely to have a heart attack. Diseases such as endometriosis, PCOS, or a history of preeclampsia during pregnancy are also at a higher risk.

•        Lifestyle choices: Using tobacco or stimulant drugs, for example, cocaine or amphetamines, a sedentary lifestyle, or high levels of stress will all increase the risk of a heart attack.

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Q
Can a heart attack happen in post-menopause women?
A
AGE2B consultant
0
The risk of heart attack increases due to falling estrogen levels after menopause. Post-menopause heart attack symptoms include: •        pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach; •        rapid or irregular heartbeat; •        severe chest pain; •        sweating without activity. Read More

The risk of heart attack increases due to falling estrogen levels after menopause.

Post-menopause heart attack symptoms include:

•        pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach;

•        rapid or irregular heartbeat;

•        severe chest pain;

•        sweating without activity.

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Q
What are the signs of a heart attack in a woman?
A
AGE2B consultant
0
Chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack. Many people expect a heart attack to come on suddenly. But research suggests that women experience symptoms for several weeks before a heart attack. A study of 515 women who had experienced a heart attack, published in 2003, reports 80 percent of women had […] Read More

Chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack.

Many people expect a heart attack to come on suddenly. But research suggests that women experience symptoms for several weeks before a heart attack.

A study of 515 women who had experienced a heart attack, published in 2003, reports 80 percent of women had at least 1 symptom at least 4 weeks before their heart attack.

Symptoms may be constant or come and go, and they may also disrupt sleep.

It is vital for a woman who experiences any of these symptoms to seek help immediately, as heart attacks can be fatal, regardless of whether symptoms are mild or severe.

The symptoms of a possible heart attack are:

1.      Chest pain

The most common symptom of a heart attack in both males and females is chest pain or discomfort.

It may be described as:

•        tightness;

•        pressure;

•        squeezing;

•        aching.

However, women can experience a heart attack without having any chest discomfort.

29.7 percent of the women surveyed in the 2003 study experienced chest discomfort in the weeks before the attack. Also, 57 percent had chest pain during the heart attack.

2.      Extreme or unusual fatigue

Unusual fatigue is often reported in the weeks leading up to a heart attack. Fatigue is also experienced just before the event occurs.

Even simple activities that do not require much exertion can lead to feelings of being exhausted.

3.      Weakness

Feeling weak or shaky is a common acute symptom of a heart attack in a female.

This weakness or shaking may be accompanied by:

•        anxiety;

•        dizziness;

•        fainting;

•        feeling lightheaded.

4.      Shortness of breath

Shortness of breath or heavy breathing without exertion, especially when accompanied by fatigue or chest pain, may suggest heart problems.

Some women may feel short of breath when lying down, with the symptom easing when they are sitting upright.

5.      Sweating

Excessive sweating without a normal cause is another common heart attack symptom in women.

Feeling cold and clammy can also be an indicator of heart problems.

6.      Upper body pain

This is usually non-specific and cannot be attributed to a particular muscle or joint in the upper body.

Areas that can be affected include:

•        neck;

•        jaw;

•        upper back or either arm.

The pain can start in one area and gradually spread to others, or it may come on suddenly.

7.      Sleep disturbances

Almost half of women in the 2003 study reported issues with sleep in the weeks before they had a heart attack.

These disturbances may involve:

•        difficulty getting to sleep;

•        unusual waking throughout the night;

•        feeling tired despite getting enough sleep.

8.      Stomach problems

Some women may feel pain or pressure in the stomach before a heart attack.

Other digestive issues associated with a possible heart attack can include:

•        indigestion;

•        nausea;

•        vomiting.

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Q
What is the risk of a repeat heart attack?
A
AGE2B consultant
0
Once you’ve had a heart attack, you’re at a higher risk for another one. Knowing the difference between angina and a heart attack is important. Angina is chest pain that occurs in people who have ischemic heart disease. The pain from angina usually occurs after physical exertion and goes away in a few minutes when […] Read More

Once you've had a heart attack, you're at a higher risk for another one. Knowing the difference between angina and a heart attack is important.

Angina is chest pain that occurs in people who have ischemic heart disease. The pain from angina usually occurs after physical exertion and goes away in a few minutes when you rest or take medicine. 

The pain from a heart attack is usually more severe than the pain from angina. Heart attack pain doesn't go away when you rest or take medicine.

If you don't know whether your chest pain is angina or a heart attack, call 9–1–1.

The symptoms of a second heart attack may not be the same as those of a first heart attack. Don't take a chance if you're in doubt. Always call 9–1–1 right away if you or someone else has heart attack symptoms.

Unfortunately, most heart attack victims wait 2 hours or more after their symptoms start before they seek medical help. This delay can result in lasting heart damage or death.

Recovering from a heart attack can take several months, and it's very important not to rush your rehabilitation.

During your recovery period, you'll receive help and support from a range of healthcare professionals, which may include:

•        nurses;

•        physiotherapists;

•        dietitians;

•        pharmacists;

•        exercise specialists.

These healthcare professionals will support you physically and mentally to ensure your recovery is conducted safely and appropriately.

The recovery process usually happens in stages, starting in the hospital, where your condition can be closely monitored and your individual needs for the future can be assessed.

After being discharged from the hospital, you can continue your recovery at home.

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Q
How can I deal with anxiety and depression after a heart attack?
A
AGE2B consultant
0
After a heart attack, many people worry about having another heart attack. Sometimes they feel depressed and have trouble adjusting to new lifestyle changes. Talk about how you feel with your health care team. Talking to a professional counselor also can help. If you’re very depressed, your doctor may recommend medicines or other treatments that […] Read More

After a heart attack, many people worry about having another heart attack. Sometimes they feel depressed and have trouble adjusting to new lifestyle changes.

Talk about how you feel with your health care team. Talking to a professional counselor also can help. If you're very depressed, your doctor may recommend medicines or other treatments that can improve your quality of life.

Joining a patient support group may help you adjust to life after a heart attack. You can see how other people who have the same symptoms have coped with them. Talk with your doctor about local support groups, or check with an area medical center.

Support from family and friends also can help relieve stress and anxiety. Let your loved ones know how you feel and what they can do to help you.

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Q
When can I return to normal activities?
A
AGE2B consultant
0
After a heart attack, most people who don’t have chest pain or discomfort, or other problems can safely return to most of their normal activities within a few weeks. Most can begin walking right away. 1.      Exercise Once you return home, it’s usually recommended that you rest and only do light activities, such as walking […] Read More

After a heart attack, most people who don't have chest pain or discomfort, or other problems can safely return to most of their normal activities within a few weeks. Most can begin walking right away.

1.      Exercise

Once you return home, it's usually recommended that you rest and only do light activities, such as walking up and down the stairs a few times a day or taking a short walk.

Gradually increase the amount of activity you do each day over several weeks.

Your care team can provide more detailed advice about a plan to increase your activity levels.

Your rehabilitation program should contain a range of different exercises, depending on your age and ability.

Most of the exercises will be aerobic. These are designed to strengthen your heart, improve circulation and lower blood pressure.

Examples of aerobic exercises include riding an exercise bike, jogging on a treadmill, and swimming.

2.      Returning to work

Most people can return to work after having a heart attack, but the time will depend on your health, the state of your heart, and the kind of work you do.

If your job involves light duties, such as working in an office, you may be able to return to work in 2 weeks.

However, if your job involves heavy manual tasks or your heart was extensively damaged, it may be several months before you can return to work.

Your care team will provide a more detailed prediction of how long it will be before you can return to work.

3.      Sex

According to the British Heart Foundation, you're usually able to start having sex again once you feel well enough, usually about 4 to 6 weeks after having a heart attack.

Having sex will not put you at further risk of having another heart attack.

Following a heart attack, some men have erectile dysfunction, which may make having sex difficult. This is most commonly due to anxiety and the emotional stress associated with having a heart attack.

Less commonly, erectile dysfunction is a side effect of a heart medicine called beta-blockers.

If you experience erectile dysfunction, speak to a GP. They may be able to recommend treatment. For example, you may be prescribed medications such as sildenafil which stimulates the flow of blood to the penis and makes it easier to get an erection.

4.      Driving

If you drive a car or motorcycle, and you have a heart attack, you do not have to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Many people can now return to driving 1 week after a heart attack, as long you do not have any other condition or complication that would disqualify you from driving.

But in more severe cases, you may need to stop driving for 4 weeks.

Your doctor or rehabilitation team should advise how long you must wait before driving after your heart attack. If you drive a large goods vehicle or passenger-carrying vehicle, you must inform the DVLA if you have a heart attack.

Your license will be reissued if you pass a basic health and fitness test and do not have any other condition that would disqualify you from driving.

5.      Depression

Having a heart attack can be frightening and traumatic, and it's common to have feelings of anxiety afterward. For many people, the emotional stresses can cause them to feel depressed and tearful for a few weeks after returning home from the hospital.

If feelings of depression persist, speak to a GP, as you may have a more serious form of depression. It's important to seek advice, as serious types of depression often do not get better without treatment. Your emotional state could also have an adverse effect on your physical recovery.

6.      Medicines

There are currently 4 types of medicines widely used to reduce the risk of a heart attack:

•        angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors;

•        anti-platelets;

•        beta-blockers;

•        statins.

      ACE inhibitors

ACE inhibitors are often used to lower blood pressure, as they block the actions of some of the hormones that help regulate blood pressure.

By stopping these hormones from working, the medicine helps to reduce the amount of water in your blood and also widens your arteries, both of which will reduce your blood pressure.

ACE inhibitors have been known to reduce the supply of blood to the kidneys, which can reduce their efficiency. This means blood and urine tests may be done before you start taking ACE inhibitors to make sure there are no pre-existing problems with your kidneys.

Annual blood and urine tests may be required if you continue to take ACE inhibitors.

The side effects of ACE inhibitors can include:

•        dizziness;

•        tiredness or weakness;

•        headaches;

•        a persistent, dry cough.

Most of these should pass within a few days, although some people continue to have a dry cough.

If ACE inhibitors are taken with other types of medicines, including over-the-counter medicines, they can cause unpredictable side effects.

Check with a GP or pharmacist before taking any other medicines if you are taking an ACE inhibitor.

It's usually recommended that you begin taking ACE inhibitors immediately after having a heart attack and, in most cases, continue taking them indefinitely.

Some people cannot take ACE inhibitors. If this is the case, a related medicine called an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) may be prescribed as an alternative.

      Antiplatelets

Antiplatelets are medicines that help prevent blood clots. They work by reducing the "stickiness" of platelets, which are tiny particles in the blood that help it to clot.

It's usually recommended that you take low-dose aspirin, which has blood-thinning properties.

You're more likely to be given additional antiplatelet medicines, such as clopidogrel, prasugrel or ticagrelor, especially if you have had stent treatment. These can also be used if you're allergic to aspirin.

Side effects of antiplatelets can include:

• diarrhea;

•        bruising or bleeding;

•        breathlessness;

•        abdominal pain;

•        indigestion;

•        heartburn.

As with ACE inhibitors, treatment with antiplatelets usually begins immediately after a heart attack.

The length of antiplatelet treatment can be between 4 weeks and 12 months and depends on the type of heart attack you have had and the other treatment you have received.

It's often recommended that you take low-dose aspirin indefinitely. If you experience troublesome side effects from aspirin, you should contact a GP for advice. Do not suddenly stop taking aspirin, as this could increase your risk of another heart attack.

You may occasionally also be prescribed another blood-thinning medicine called warfarin, which only happens if you have remained in an irregular heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation) or sustained severe damage to your heart.

Excessive bleeding is the most serious side effect of warfarin.

Seek immediate medical attention and have an urgent blood test if you experience any of the following side effects:

•        passing blood in your pee or poo;

•        passing black poo;

•        severe bruising;

•        nosebleed for longer than 10 minutes;

•        vomit with blood;

•        coughing up blood;

•        having unusual headaches;

•        heavy or increased bleeding during your period or any other bleeding from the vagina.

You must also seek immediate medical attention if you:

•        are involved in major trauma (an accident);

•        experience a significant blow to the head;

•        are unable to stop any bleeding.

      Beta-blockers

Beta-blockers are a type of medicine used to protect the heart from further damage after a heart attack.

They help to relax the heart's muscles, so the heart beats slower and blood pressure drops, both of which will reduce blockers as soon as your condition stabilizes, and continue taking them indefinitely.

Common side effects of beta-blockers include:

•        tiredness;

•        cold hands and feet;

•        a slow heartbeat;

•        diarrhea;

•        feeling sick.

Less common side effects include:

•        difficulty sleeping or nightmares;

•        inability to obtain or maintain an erection (erectile dysfunction, or impotence).

Beta-blockers can also interact with other medicines, causing possible adverse side effects.

Check with a GP or pharmacist before taking any other medicines, including over-the-counter medicine, in combination with beta-blockers.

    Statins

Statins are a type of medicine used to reduce blood cholesterol.

This helps to prevent further damage to your coronary arteries and should reduce the risk of another heart attack.

Statins block the effects of an enzyme in your liver called HMG-CoA reductase, which is used to make cholesterol.

Statins sometimes have mild side effects, including:

•        constipation;

•        diarrhea;

•        headaches;

•        abdominal pain.

Occasionally, statins can cause muscle pain, weakness, and tenderness.

Contact a GP if you experience these symptoms, as your dosage may need to be adjusted. It's usually recommended that you take statins indefinitely.

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Q
What is a medical follow-up?
A
AGE2B consultant
0
After a heart attack, you’ll need treatment for ischemic heart disease. This will help prevent another heart attack. Your doctor may recommend: •        Lifestyle changes, such as following a healthy diet, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, and quitting smoking. •        Medicines to control chest pain or discomfort, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, […] Read More

After a heart attack, you'll need treatment for ischemic heart disease. This will help prevent another heart attack. Your doctor may recommend:

•        Lifestyle changes, such as following a healthy diet, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, and quitting smoking.

•        Medicines to control chest pain or discomfort, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, and your heart's workload. Some of these medicines can help you prevent another heart attack.

•        Anticlotting medicines, such as aspirin, that your doctor may prescribe to help you prevent another heart attack.

•        A cardiac rehabilitation program.

If you find it hard to get your medicines or complete your cardiac rehabilitation program, talk with your doctor. Don't stop the medicines or programs because they can help you prevent another heart attack.

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