Myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack, is a medical emergency that can occur when a blood clot blocks blood flow to the heart. Without blood, tissue loses oxygen and can eventually die.

“One in three Americans die from heart problems and coronary disease, and heart attacks is a major chunk of that, ” said Dr. Vijaya Velury, a cardiologist at Comanche County Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Velury explained that 20% of people who have heart attacks never make it to the hospital. The longer a person waits for treatment the more damage the heart receives.

Symptoms include tightness or pain in the chest, neck, back, or arms, as well as fatigue, lightheadedness, abnormal heartbeat, and anxiety. Women and people who live with diabetes are more likely to have atypical symptoms and die from heart attacks. Post-menopausal women are at a higher risk of heart attacks due to pre-menopausal hormones having a larger protective state against heart attacks during the initial stage of life.

He urged people need to get to a hospital as fast as they can if they believe they’re suffering from cardiac arrest symptoms.

Medications to treat a heart attack might include aspirin to reduce blood clotting, statins, or other blood-thinning medicines. But sometimes supportive treatment, like oxygen therapy, may be used. In more severe cases, coronary stents or coronary artery bypass surgery may be needed.

The doctor says even if you survive a heart attack there are ways to decrease your chance of having one again.

“People who quit smoking after the heart attack, their mortality chance goes down by 25 to 50% just by quitting smoking. It’s very important that they do that, and other things to take care of is blood pressure, and diabetes. And, also regular physical activity. The recommendation is at least five days a week they exercise for about 30 minutes a day,” said the cardiologist.

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