Heart Attack

Starting an Exercise Program After a Heart Attack

Man stretching before working out outside Heart attacks are life-changing, not only physically but mentally as well. When someone has a heart attack, they feel more vulnerable in every way, physically and psychologically. They may believe their heart is weak, and they tend to withdraw from activity to keep their heart “protected.”

However, the opposite is true. To be sure, a heart attack does create structural problems that can weaken it, but we must remember what causes heart attacks in the first place. Heart attacks are primarily caused by ischemic heart disease, which involves a buildup of plaque in the arteries. A blood clot may form within the artery when the plaque breaks open. If the blood clot becomes large enough and blood flow is reduced significantly enough, the heart is deprived of oxygen, and the musculature in the deprived area can die.

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Does a Heart Attack Mean the End of Life as I Know It?

Man grabbing chest with one hand while hunched over

There is very little that puts more trepidation into the minds of our patients than the prospect of a heart attack. We even use the term to describe some of the most dramatic goings-on in our lives. To be sure, with heart disease being the leading killer of adults in the United States, we should be very concerned about our cardiovascular health, especially if we have any of the risk factors of heart disease.

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Can Cold Weather Cause More Heart Attacks?

woman with winter coat and scarf in the wintertime outside

The weather is not typically at the top of the list when we think of the causes of heart attacks. To be sure, lack of exercise and poor dietary choices are the primary causes behind this deadly condition. However, patients must understand what they’re feeling during cold weather and whether it is a warning sign of cardiovascular disease or an impending heart attack.

Here in Nevada, temperatures can get pretty cold, and regardless of what we wear, our bodies try to compensate for even small temperature changes. The body does so in the cold by constricting blood vessels to retain more heat in the core. This is why your skin turns white and blue if exposed to very cold conditions. Remember that your vascular system requires body heat to work correctly, so by reducing blood flow to less important peripheral structures, our body can keep us alive longer, for example, in an emergency. Of course, when a blood vessel constricts, less blood circulates. This is rarely a concern in an adult with a healthy cardiovascular system, as even reduced blood flow still provides enough oxygen throughout the body.

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Differentiating Heart Attack Symptoms in Men and Women

Man clenching chest with right hand

With the abundance of information on the Internet and elsewhere, we’ve never had more to digest than we do today. However, with all that information comes the spread of this information and myths, making it much harder to understand what is good and what is evil. To some degree, the stereotypical hand-over-chest depiction of a heart attack, while accurate for many, does not encompass the entirety of the problem and may leave some patients, especially women, thinking that they are not experiencing this deadly cardiovascular event. Let’s dig further.

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What Happens When You Have a Heart Attack?

man experiencing heart attack clenches chestTo understand a heart attack, we must learn more about how the heart and the cardiovascular system work. The heart is just like any other muscle or tissue in the body in that it needs oxygenated blood to function properly. A ‘heart attack’ myocardial infarction (MI) occurs when part of the heart is deprived of oxygen for a period of time. When oxygen does not reach the heart, the deprived area begins to die. The resultant weakness is responsible for many of the symptoms that we associate with a heart attack.

A heart attack can have a variety of causes and many different implications for the person affected. There are specific names for some types of heart attacks, depending on the cause and location of the problem. You may hear terms like ‘STEMI’ or ‘NSTEMI’.

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The Link Between Cannabis and Heart Attacks

Since january 2014, it's allowed to sell and buy cannabis legally in Colorado, USA.

As cannabis products are legalized state-by-state, we have seen a significant rise in health issues associated with compounds that many once thought were relatively harmless – in fact, some proponents have touted cannabis as a miracle cure.

However, a recent evaluation of CDC data1 has given credence to the concerns surrounding cannabis. After following younger adults (45 years old and younger) in the 30 days after taking a cannabis product, the risk for a heart attack increased by 50%. The results are a reminder that we still do not know enough about the effects of cannabis on our health.

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