The leading killers in the United States are heart attacks and strokes. Annually, around 860,000 Americans die from heart disease or another untreated cardiovascular condition. The most preventable precursors to a heart attack are high blood pressure, bad nutrition habits, high cholesterol, smoking, limited or no physical exercise, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The onset of a heart attack can be sudden and severe, but most begin as a gradually increasing pain in your chest. In the United States, a heart attack occurs about once every 40 seconds. Strenuous activities like sports, heavy labor and other physical activities are often credited as an inciting cause of a heart attack. But the real causes are typically longstanding health issues that are varied and complex.
When a heart attack — also called a myocardial infarction — happens, the blood supply to your heart is interrupted, and your heart muscle starts to die. The symptoms of a heart attack can differ in men and women. The most common symptom men feel is chest pain, <Link to Chest Pain> while women experience this in combination with other symptoms, such as intense fatigue. Other symptoms include:
- Pressure in your chest or abdomen
- Jaw pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Neck pain
- Dizziness <Link to Fainting>
- Stomach pain
- Shortness of breath <Link to Shortness of Breath>
- Back pain
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms
- Indigestion or chest burning sensations
Preventing Heart Attacks
Prevention is the best treatment against heart attacks. While certain factors are beyond your control —such as your age, race, gender and family history — you can limit your risk with certain lifestyle changes. A top heart attack specialist at the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center can tell you what to do to reduce your risk of heart disease: <Link to Heart Disease>
- Maintain a normal low blood pressure <Link to Low Blood Pressure>
- Eat a healthy diet
- Get regular exercise
- Keep your cholesterol low <Link to High Cholesterol>
- Sustain a healthy weight
- Limit the alcohol you consume
- Get enough sleep — seven to nine hours per night
- Keep stress levels to a minimum
- Visit the best cardiology center in NYC for regular check-ups
There are two kinds of cholesterol: the good kind called HDL (for high-density lipoprotein) and the dangerous kind, called LDL (for low-density lipoprotein). In the simplest terms, HDL helps keep your cardiovascular system clean, while LDL clogs it up. Meanwhile, triglycerides are fat cells in your bloodstream. The healthiest levels for you may vary by age and other factors.
Making a Correct Diagnosis
If you have the symptoms of a heart attack, your cardiology doctor conducts a series of tests to confirm that diagnosis, such as:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG). This is usually the first test done to detect a heart attack. It records the electrical activity in your heart through electrodes attached to your skin. When your heart’s electrical impulses aren’t normal, <Link to Arrhythmia> your heart attack specialist can confirm that you’ve had or are having a heart attack.
- Stress test. Days or weeks after a heart attack, you undergo a stress test that measures how your heart reacts to some form of physical exertion.
- With this test, sound waves are used to form a live video image of your heart, similar to an ultrasound of a fetus. The video shows your cardiologist in Manhattan the damaged areas of the heart, especially if it’s not pumping properly. <Link to Heart Valve Disease>
- Coronary calcium CT scan. This test reveals if there’s any build-up in your arteries. An accumulation of fatty tissue or cholesterol can cause symptoms like chest pain, back pain or tingling in your arms.
- Cardiac CT. This test diagnoses problems with your heart, such as surveying the damage done from a heart attack. Like an MRI or magnetic resonance imaging test, you lie on a table that slides into a tube. The imaging machine takes pictures of your heart and chest.
It’s very possible that you live a long life after having a heart attack. But a fifth of victims older than 45 experience a second, more crippling heart attack. That’s why it’s so important to make lifestyle changes if you’ve had a heart attack. Treatment methods for coronary artery disease, <Link to Coronary Artery Disease> which may prevent a heart attack, include:
- Cholesterol medications. Statins regulate bad cholesterol and limit the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood.
- Aspirin or blood thinners. Low-dose aspirin reduces the tendency for your blood to clot.
- Beta blockers. These drugs slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure, limiting your heart’s need for oxygen.
- Calcium channel blockers. Specially-formulated medications reduce your chest pain.
- This medication temporarily dilates your arteries, lowering your heart’s need for blood and reducing your chest pain.
- ACE inhibitors. These medications keep your blood pressure from getting too high <Link to High Blood Pressure> and arrest your coronary heart disease
If you’ve felt any heart attack symptoms or you’ve already survived one heart attack, take preventative action to avoid further damage to your heart. Contact the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center <Link to Contact> to speak with the best cardiologists in NYC. Live a long, healthy life, free from concerns of having a heart attack.
If you have any questions for the best in class Manhattan cardiologist, top heart attack specialist or would like to schedule a consultation or appointment please feel free to contact Dr. Steven Reisman of the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center and indicate which Manhattan office (Upper East Side, Midtown Manhattan, or Wall Street / Financial District) you would like to see the cardiologist for the heart failure prevention, heart attack treatment consultation.