The heart is an organ which keeps us all alive by pumping blood around the body, delivering oxygen and other nutrients to all of the cells. It consists of highly specialised muscle cells which remain in place and active for the whole of a lifetime. These muscles get their own blood supply through three main coronary arteries. A heart attack happens when blood flow to part of the heart is blocked, often by a blood clot, causing damage to the affected heart muscle. The medical term for a heart attack is myocardial infarction.
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Dr Raj Kharbanda, a consultant cardiologist at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford said: “A heart attack usually causes severe pain in the centre of the chest.
“The pain usually feels like a heaviness or tightness, which may also spread to the arms, neck, jaw, bark or stomach. Sometimes the pain can be mild and be mistaken for indigestion.
“Some people can have a heart attack without experiencing pain. A person having a heart attack may also sweat, feel light-headed, feel sick or feel short of breath or have an overwhelming feeling of anxiety.”
There are also unusual signs that you may be at risk of having a heart attack which can be found on your fingernails.
If a person has red or purple lines that somehow from under the fingernails it could mean a person may be at risk.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) said as long the lines on the fingernails were not caused by an injury, such lines could warn a person of coronary heart disease.
Sometimes referred to as splinter haemorrhage, these coronary heart disease lines, when not caused by an injury but have just casually appeared on its own accord, can also be accompanied by a high fever.
A person may also experience an irregular or weak heartbeat.
Blue discolouration of the fingernails can be caused by problems in the lungs, heart, blood cells or blood vessels.
Clubbing is another fingernail sign that can indicate a person may have coronary heart disease according to the AAD.
Clubbing is a medical term used to describe swollen fingers with downward-turned nails.
Additionally, the NHS also revealed that chest pain is the most common indicator of coronary heart disease. Clubbed nails occur when the ends of the fingers or toes grow bulb-like.
It’s sometimes known as drumstick fingers.
Some people with clubbing of the nails have an underlying disease of the heart or lungs. Club fingers could indicate heart disease.
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What are the risk factors for having a heart attack?
There are many risk factors as to why a person may be more susceptible to having a heart attack.
According to the NHS, hypertension or high blood pressure is among such risk factors. High levels of cholesterol in the blood and diabetes are also among the risk factors of the illness.
Smoking, leading a sedentary lifestyle and obesity all contribute to increasing one’s risk of developing a heart attack.
To minimise risk, the NHS recommends consuming a healthy and balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
There is also a need for one to limit their salt intake and avoid foods that contain saturated fats such as butter, sausages and meat pies.
British Heart Foundation said: “A heart attack is a medical emergency and you should call 999 for an ambulance immediately.
It happens when there’s sudden loss of blood to a part of the heart muscle. Without enough blood and oxygen your heart can be seriously damaged.
It’s possible to have a heart attack without experiencing all symptoms such as pain in the chest, pain that spreads or feeling sick and sweaty and it’s important to remember everyone experiences pain differently.
A heart attack is common in the elderly or people with diabetes, as the condition can cause nerve damage which affects how you feel pain.”
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