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Heart attack: What is acute myocardial infarction?

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  • Acute myocardial infarction is one of the leading causes of death.
  • It happens when an artery is suddenly blocked.
  • Learn the causes, symptoms and treatment.

Acute myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack, is one of the leading causes of death around the world. It occurs when one of the coronary arteries, which supplies blood to the heart, suddenly becomes blocked, causing heart tissue to die.

Find out more about this deadly health issue — its causes, symptoms, treatments and how you can prevent it.

Causes of acute myocardial infarction

Causes of acute myocardial infarction
PHOTO: Twitter

Coronary disease is the main risk factor for suffering an acute myocardial infarction. This occurs when the coronary arteries become narrow due to the accumulation of cholesterol plaque and other substances on their walls. This hinders blood flow to the heart and increases the risk of obstruction.

Other causes of myocardial infarction include high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, being overweight and lack of physical activity. In addition, there are genetic risk factors that can increase the predisposition to develop this issue.

Symptoms of a heart attack

Symptoms of acute myocardial infarction
PHOTO: Twitter

The symptoms of an acute myocardial infarction can vary in intensity and duration. The most common is intense, pressing pain in the chest, which may radiate to the left arm, back, neck, or jaw. In addition, other symptoms such as shortness of breath, excessive sweating, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and anxiety may occur.

It is important to keep in mind that not all people who experience a heart attack have the same symptoms. In some cases, especially for women, the symptoms can be more subtle and difficult to identify. Therefore, it is essential to be attentive to any warning signs and seek immediate medical attention if you may be at risk for a heart attack.


PHOTO: Shutterstock

Treatment of acute myocardial infarction depends on the severity of the obstruction and the presence of other risk factors. In general, the aim is to restore blood flow to the heart as soon as possible to avoid irreversible damage to heart tissue.

In most cases, drugs are used to dissolve clots that are blocking coronary arteries. These drugs, known as thrombolytics, are most effective if given within hours of the onset of symptoms. In some cases, it is necessary to perform coronary angioplasty, a procedure in which a catheter is inserted into the blocked artery and a balloon is used to dilate the narrowed area. Sometimes a stent, a small metal tube that keeps the artery open and improves blood flow, is also placed.

Precautionary measures

Precautionary measures
PHOTO: Shutterstock

To prevent acute myocardial infarction, it is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This means eating a balanced diet low in saturated fats, avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, and engaging in regular physical exercise. In addition, it is important to control risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, following your doctor’s advice and taking prescribed medications properly.

It’s important to get regular medical check-ups, especially after the age of 40 or earlier if you have risk factors. This will allow early detection of any abnormality in the heart so you can take measures to prevent major complications.

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