Heart Attack - What is Heart Attack


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Home :: Healthy Heart :: What is Heart Attack

Heart Attack

What is Heart Attack ?

Every cell and organ of the body needs nourishment and oxygen to remain alive. Through the blood, the heart supplies nutrients and oxygen to every cell in the body. For its own nourishment the heart depends upon the two coronary arteries.

As the age of a person advances, his blood vessels become increasingly rigid, brittle and narrow. This process is known as arteriosclerosis. Narrowing of the blood vessels impairs the circulation of blood. Grave consequences ensure when the blood supply to apart of the body or to a vital organ of the body stops completely. If such a black not get reversed quickly, cells of that part of the body die due to lack of nourishment and oxygen.

In some parts of the body there is a network of alternative (collateral) blood vessels. When there is a blockage in one of the blood vessels, alternative blood . In this way necessary blood supply to that part of the body is maintained and the crisis is averted. But the heart has only a few alternative blood vessels. So, when the coronary arteries supplying nourishment to the heart start narrowing of the heart start narrowing, following consequences ensure:

1. In the heart has only a few alternative blood vessels. So, when the coronary arteries supplying nourishment to the heart start narrowing of the coronary arteries, the heart continues to get the necessary nourishment.

2. When the narrowing increases further nourishment to the heart decreases. When a person is resting, his heart gets adequate nourishment. But when he engages himself in some physical work, the heart is not able to get the required amount of additional nourishment and consequently sharp chest pain (angina pectoris) occurs. This pain is a precondition of a heart attack.

3. When the coronary arteries become too narrow, one of the arteries or any of its branches may get fully blocked and a crisis may develop. If this blockage does not get reversed quickly the tissues of that part of the heart die due to the lack of blood supply. Such a developed causes acute anginal pain and breathing trouble. This condition is called a heart attack.

Phases of Heart Attack

All the above-described three condition are shown in the illustrations given below:

First phase: Though the coronary arteries have become narrow the heart continues to get adequate nourishment.

Second phase: Arteriosclerosis has progressed further. Nourishment to the heart is adequate while the person is resting. But the nourishment is not enough to meet the increases needs of the heart during physical exertion. Consequently, after hard work, sharp chest pain (angina) arises. This pain is, however, alleviated by rest.

Third phase: In advance arteriosclerosis the coronary arteries become too narrow and if by chance any one of them gets fully blocked that part of the heart does not get the blood supply. As a result, muscles of that part die. This condition is known as a heart attack.


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