When the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart is stopped by a blockage, a person suffers a heart attack. It primarily occurs due to coronary heart disease (CHD), which is also referred to as coronary artery disease (CAD), characterized by clogged arteries.
Even if at a young age, unhealthy levels of cholesterol can already start building up as plaque (fatty deposits) in the walls of the arteries. Plus, other substances like fibrin, calcium, and cellular waste material that enter the bloodstream also attach to the arterial walls, which further hardens the plaque.
This gradual building up of plaque causes narrowing and thickening of the arteries, thus leading to blocked or clogged pathways.
Apart from contributing to the plaque buildup, the fibrin also causes blood clotting which further obstructs blood flow to the heart and usually results in a heart attack.
Heeding Warning Signs Of A Heart Attack Can Save Your Life
Signs of a heart attack can possibly be recognized days in advance. These will help you in seeking medical attention to prevent severe health damage or in worst cases, death.
Here are the early warning signs and symptoms to look for to spot a heart attack before it happens:
Chest Pain And Discomfort
The pain is bearable and may extend to the jaws, shoulders, and hands. It is often described as a discomfort in the chest. There is a feeling of pressure building inside the chest, as well as constriction and tightness.
Stable chest pain is predictable and occurs after a tireless physical activity that strains clogged arteries. While unstable chest pain can occur anytime with or without physical activity. It also lasts longer than stable pain.
Shortness Of Breath
Any amount of exertion is bound to put extra strain on your heart when your arteries are clogged.
If you struggle to catch your breath after a workout or a routine activity, it may be a symptom of clogged arteries. In a matter of days, this could cause a heart attack.
Palpitations happen when the heart skip beats, pound or flutter uncontrollably. It may be accompanied by a feeling of shock, fear, and discomfort. This can be caused by medication, anxiety, stress and excessive consumption of stimulants like alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine.
In some cases, palpitation may signal an underlying heart condition. That’s why if you suffer from it for a while and it keeps intensifying over time you must consult your cardiologist.
Weakness And Dizziness
Your heart is the powerhouse organ of the body, and blood-flow its life support. Any barrier in its function is bound to wear you down. An accumulation of plaque in the arteries interferes with smooth blood flow to the heart.
Because of this, the muscles of the heart weaken and works extra hard to pump blood efficiently to the other organs, thus causing you to feel fatigued faster.
Your heart weakens when your arteries clog up due to plaque accumulation. This causes your heart to pump blood poorly, thus inhibiting blood flow to the digestive tract which causes reactions like nausea and gastrointestinal cramps.
Vomiting or digestive sensitivity accompanied by dizziness or cold sweats might be a symptom of clogged arteries and may result in a heart attack over time.
Your heart suffers extra strain when you engage in physical activity once your arteries struggle to pump blood to your heart due to clogging.
When you exert yourself, your body regulates its temperature by producing heat and sweat. If you find yourself sweating too much even in a little activity, your heart may be having a trouble performing its basic pumping function which causes your system to work extra hard to regulate your body temperature.
An erectile dysfunction that lasts a couple of days or more may be an indication of a heart attack to follow. One of the first organs affected by arterial clogging is the penis.