What is a heart attack?
A heart attack is a very dangerous situation that occurs when a coronary artery is occluded. The coronary arteries or arteries that carry blood to the heart muscle, and the heart is the one that pumps blood to the rest of the body.
When we have a heart attack it generally occurs because a thrombus has formed inside a coronary artery and occludes and prevents an area of the myocardium, the heart muscle, from receiving blood, so that at that moment the heart, that part of the heart, begins to die.
This can have tragic consequences such as death due to arrhythmia or, if the arrhythmia does not occur or is not controlled, there is a scar in the heart, so that what was once a muscle that pumped blood now becomes a scar that does not move and therefore does not pump blood, which causes us to enter a situation we call cardiac insufficiency.
Why does it happen?
Since we are born in our arteries, specifically in our coronary arteries, cholesterol and other substances begin to be deposited forming what is called coronary atherosclerosis plaques. When one of these plaques becomes unstable, and this is when a plaque ruptures, the content of the plaque comes into contact with the blood and thus produces a clot that will occlude the blood vessel.
What is the best way to avoid having a clot, to avoid having a thrombus and therefore avoid a heart attack? Trying not to have atherosclerosis plaques.
Can it be prevented?
It is practically impossible to prevent a heart attack one hundred percent. Heart attack is one of the most frequent pathologies, one of the most frequent diseases in our society, in our country. However, we can do things that help us try to avoid or try to prevent a heart attack.
Proper control of cholesterol levels, of course quitting smoking, controlling our diabetes, exercising, avoiding being overweight, and controlling our blood pressure are measures that help us to reduce or at least slow down the progression of these plaques of arteriosclerosis, to try to prevent these plaques from becoming unstable, and therefore try to prevent us from developing, from having a heart attack.
How does it affect the patient’s life?
The consequences of an infarction are multiple. Some people do not go beyond the first few minutes after the onset of an infarction, so that they generally experience a fatal arrhythmia called ventricular fibrillation, which, if not treated at the same time, will result in the death of the patient.
However, other times it does not occur or it is managed in time, but if, as we said before, a scar is left on the heart, this scar on the one hand can be the origin of new arrhythmias, and on the other hand reduces the function of the heart as a pump. This scar, which used to be muscle and is now an inert tissue that does not move, means that the heart’s capacity to function as a pump is considerably reduced, so we have what we call cardiac insufficiency.
This heart failure greatly impairs the quality of life of any person and is a marker that tells us that our life expectancy is shortened.