Heart attacks seldom give you a warning. Though some signs such as chest pain may come and go shortly before a heart attack, the problem that leads to a heart attack may not cause any symptoms. Laura Fernandes, MD, FACC, at Woodlands Heart and Vascular Institute specializes in identifying your risks and preventing a heart attack. You can also rely on her exceptional experience providing advanced treatment after a heart attack occurs. If you have questions about symptoms or need compassionate cardiac care, call the Woodlands office, or book an appointment online today.
You have a heart attack, or myocardial infarction when the blood flow to your heart becomes significantly blocked or cut off.
Without blood, your heart doesn’t get enough oxygen, a condition called ischemia. Ischemia quickly damages or kills part of your heart muscle, which in turn causes your heart attack.
Getting quick treatment to restore blood flow limits the damage to your heart. After heart muscle dies, however, the damage is permanent.
Coronary artery disease causes heart attacks. This condition develops as cholesterol, and other fats, build up on the wall of one of your coronary arteries. Over time, the cholesterol plaque gets larger and hardens, eventually limiting or blocking blood flow.
You can also have a heart attack when the plaque ruptures and causes a blood clot. The clot suddenly expands the plaque enough to interfere with blood flow.
Each person experiences a heart attack differently. Some have mild symptoms, while others develop severe pain. You may only feel chest pain, or you may have shortness of breath without chest pain.
The symptoms you may experience include:
While women and men often have chest pain, women are more likely to experience less common symptoms, such as indigestion, fatigue, and pain in their upper back or shoulder.
Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency service as soon as you experience any symptoms of a heart attack.
Your treatment focuses on restoring blood flow and preventing more damage to your heart. Emergency room physicians give you medications to dissolve blood clots and thin your blood. You may also get medicines to prevent new blood clots, relieve your chest pain, reduce your heartbeat, and lower your blood pressure.
Depending on the severity of your coronary artery disease, you may also have an interventional procedure to clear away the blockage or bypass the clot.
Dr. Fernandes has extensive experience performing interventional procedures such as angioplasty and stenting. She also provides exceptional ongoing care to restore your health after a heart attack, creating personalized treatment plans that incorporate lifestyle changes and medical therapies.
If you need care for a heart attack, call Woodlands Heart and Vascular Institute or book an appointment online today.