A heart attack or myocardial infarction (MI) is the death of a segment of heart muscle caused by a loss of blood supply. The blood is usually cut off when an artery supplying the heart muscle is suddenly blocked by a blood clot. If some of the heart muscle dies, patients experience severe chest pain and electrical instability of the heart muscle. It is a serious medical emergency that requires immediate treatment, ideally within an hour. If appropriate treatment could be given in time, chances of death significantly reduces with minimized severity. After heart attack, prescribed medications must be taken strictly in order to reduce risk of subsequent heart attack and help damaged heart to function more effectively. More importantly, lifestyle modification remains essential to lower risk of subsequent episode. Lifestyle changes include maintaining a healthy weight with a heart-healthy diet, managing stress and controlling conditions that can lead to heart attack such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as well as having regular exercise. Patients who exercise regularly after having a heart attack, along with taking other strides toward improved heart health, may live longer and enjoy a better quality of life. Nevertheless, strenuous exercise and activities might potentially result in increased chances of heart attack. Therefore, exercise with appropriate activities and duration is highly recommended to safely improve the heart’s health and strength.
Get to know heart attack
A heart attack or otherwise called myocardial infarction occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked. The blockage is often caused by a plaque in the arteries that feed the heart (coronary arteries).The plaque eventually breaks away and forms a blood clot. As a consequence, the interrupted blood flow can damage or destroy part of the heart muscle. This condition could be fatal, but treatment has improved dramatically over the years. Common heart attack signs and symptoms include tightness or severe chest pain, a squeezing sensation in the chest or arms that may radiate to the neck, jaw or back, shortness of breath, sudden dizziness or lightheadedness, nausea and heartburn or abdominal pain. Without immediate treatment, complications during an attack are typically fatal including abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), heart failure and sudden cardiac arrest. Diagnostic tests and procedures typically involve chest X-ray, echocardiogram, coronary catheterization (angiogram), exercise stress test with electrocardiogram (ECG), cardiac CT and MRI. Treatments primarily aim to restore blood flow quickly in order to prevent heart damage. Treatments involve medications, surgical and other procedures which are:
After treatment, cardiac rehabilitation programs are extremely important. These programs generally focus on medications, lifestyle changes, emotional issues and a gradual return to daily life and normal activities.
Lifestyle modifications after heart attack
Appropriate exercise greatly helps to strengthen the heart, resulting in lowered chances of subsequent heart attack. However, heart attack often causes some damages to the heart, thus several weeks or months are required for a full recovery.
Without any cardiac complications, stay active with regular exercise after heart attack. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends building up to exercising 30 minutes a day five times a week to keep the heart in shape, especially for heart attack recovery. Focus on being physically active every day to have a healthy, happy heart.
For more information, please contact:
Bangkok Heart Hospital
Tel: +662-310-3000 or 1719 (local call only)