What Happens When You Have A Heart Attack

Did you know that heart disease is the number one cause of death for women?  Women frequently miss the symptoms of a heart attack because they mistakenly relate heart disease as a ‘man’s disease’.  Women who have heart disease tend to believe that symptoms such as sweating, chest pressure, nausea, and jaw pain are synonymous with menopause, the flu, stress or simply feeling under the weather.  Many women just don’t think they could ever have a heart attack.

Disregarding the symptoms of a heart attack can cause death.  Recognizing the signs of heart disease or a heart attack can save lives.

What Causes A Heart Attack?

Plaque can build up in the coronary arteries.  This can block the blood flow to the heart.  Causes of plaque accumulation include heavy smoking, morbid obesity, high stress, and familial history of heart disease.

What Are Symptoms of a Heart Attack?

  • Intermittent chest pain (pressure or a feeling of your chest being squeezed) that waxes and wanes.
  • Pain or general discomfort of the jaw, stomach, back or arms (frequently misdiagnosed as indigestion, TMJ, sleeping in an incorrect position or overuse of muscles at gym)
  • Shortness of breath, palpitations, lightheadedness or dizziness for no apparent reason
  • nausea
  • Cold sweats; sometimes sweat can have an ‘oily’ feeling

What You Should Do If You Believe You Are Experiencing A Heart Attack

  • Call 911 and follow instructions carefully.
  • Try to remain calm and breathe.
  • If you have aspirin, take one.
  • If an ambulance cannot arrive within minutes, call a car service or ask a friend or neighbor to drive you to the hospital.  Do not operate a moving vehicle.

Steps You Can Take To Help Prevent a Heart Attack

Schedule a yearly routine check up with your M.D. A routine yearly EKG and blood tests should be performed during this appointment.  Many red flags can be detected by simply having this routine exam every year.

Watch your weight.  Maintaining a healthy weight encompasses a healthy lifestyle.  Everything in moderation.  Diet and exercise are the cheapest and easiest ways you can stave off heart disease.

Stop smoking….period.  It has been proven that smoking causes cancer and is a major contributor to inhibition of blood circulation and plaque build up in the body.  There are many tools available to assist you to kick the habit.

Acupuncture Plays A Key Integrative Role In The Cardiac Clinic

Studies have shown that acupuncture (and in many cases electroacupuncture) may serve as a safe and viable option for the treatment of the cardiac patient.  Acupuncture has been found to be effective in the treatment of symptomatic heart disease, myocardial ischemia, hypertension, arrhythmias, heart failure and autonomic dysfunction.  I have been treating patients with various forms of heart disease for years and I work closely, in a partnership, with patient and his/her cardiologist.

Ladies, don’t neglect yourselves; become your own best patient advocate.  If you or someone you know would like to know more about acupuncture and how it can help in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, please contact my clinic for an appointment.  In the meantime, as we slide into springtime, let’s not think just about strappy sandals…think ‘happy and healthy heart’.

Source:  Acta Physiologica Sinica, Feb 25, 2015, 67(1):19-31 Integrating acupunctureinto the cardiology clinnic:  can it play a role?

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