Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. CHD is caused by a narrowing of the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart, and often results in a heart attack.
Each year, about 1.1 million Americans suffer a heart attack. About 460,000 of those heart attacks are fatal. About half of those deaths occur within 1 hour of the start of symptoms and before the person reaches the hospital.
Fortunately, everyone can take steps to protect their heart and their life or that of someone else. The key is seeking medical care as soon as possible. This article will tell you about heart attack and the steps you can take to increase your chances of survival. You’ll learn why a fast response to the signs of a heart attack is crucial to save lives and limit heart damage.
Heart attacks strike both men and women. However, some persons are more likely than others to have a heart attack because of their “risk factors.” Risk factors are behaviors or conditions that increase the chance of a disease. Some of the risk factors for heart attack are beyond your control, but most can be modified to help you lower your risk of having a first–or repeat–heart attack.
Factors you cannot control:
- Pre-existing coronary heart diseases, including a previous heart attack, a prior angioplasty or bypass surgery, or angina
- Age-In men, the risk increases after age 45; in women, the risk increases after age 55.
- Family history of early heart disease-a father or brother diagnosed before age 55; or a mother or sister diagnosed before age 65.
Factors you can control:
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Overweight and obesity
- Physical inactivity
Risk factors do not add their effects in a simple way. Rather, they multiply each other’s effects. So, it is very important to prevent or control risk factors that can be modified. If you have one or more of these factors, see your health care provider to find out how to reduce your risk of having a first or repeat heart attack.
Treatments for a heart attack work to open the blocked artery to restore blood flow as fast as possible to prevent or limit damage to the heart muscle, and to lessen the chance of a repeat attack. The main treatments are thrombolytic (“clot-busting”) therapy, other medications, and special procedures, such as angioplasty and coronary artery bypass surgery.
To be most effective, these treatments must be given fast–within 1 hour of the start of heart attack symptoms. Acting fast can save your life and limit damage to your heart.
Updated: May 20, 2019
- Reduce Risk of Heart Attack
- How To Plan Ahead For A Heart Attack
- Heart Attack Warning Signs
- How To Survive A Heart Attack
- Testing For A Heart Attack
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