Pain or a feeling of heaviness in the chest that radiates to one or both arms, as well as the neck and jaw, is one of the most common symptoms of a heart attack. Los Leones Clinic cardiologist Dr. Andrés Triana emphasizes the importance of immediately contacting the emergency service if any of these signs appear.
La Calera, July 21, 2023 – Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death in Chile and worldwide, accounting for 27.1% of all deaths in the country. In addition, more than 50% of the population have two or more cardiovascular risk factors.
Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) or acute coronary syndrome, commonly known as “heart attack”, is defined as the presence of myocardial necrosis, that is, the death of a group of heart cells that become electrically inactive, resulting in a change in the normal functioning of the heart.
In this context, Dr. Andrés Triana, a specialist at the Los Leones Clinic, explains that “symptoms of cardiovascular disease can differ between men and women” and adds that they can include chest pain (angina pectoris), shortness of breath, a feeling of pain, numbness, weakness, or a feeling of coldness in the hands. You may also experience pain in your neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen, or back.
Along with this, Triana adds that “adults without risk factors are recommended to be screened starting at age 30, and people with risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity or overweight should be screened annually. If responsible behavior were adopted, we could prevent a large percentage of cardiovascular disease.”
On the other hand, he adds that there are atypical and rare manifestations of myocardial infarction, such as epigastric pain and vomiting, which can be confused with gastrointestinal or vesicular problems, and in some cases, myocardial infarction can even be confused with neurological symptoms.
If you suspect a heart attack, you should immediately go to the emergency room. A delay in making a diagnosis can have serious consequences because when a coronary artery is blocked, it is imperative to unblock it as quickly as possible.
This is why Dr. Andres Triana mentions some recommendations for caring for the heart:
• Eat a healthy lifestyle: This includes a balanced and nutritious diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. It is also important to maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly.
• Avoid tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption: Smoking is one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease, so it is very important to quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke. In addition, excessive alcohol consumption can have a negative effect on the cardiovascular system, so it is recommended to drink in moderation.
• Control your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Keeping blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels within normal limits is essential to prevent heart disease. Get regular checkups and follow your doctor’s advice to keep these values under control.