Myocardial infarction is always a big risk to a person’s life. The cause of almost every third death in our country is cardiac arrest due to insufficient blood supply (ischemia) of the heart muscle (myocardium), as a result of which the tissues of the body begin to die. Up to 40% of people with this diagnosis die in the first 15-20 minutes after the onset of the disease. That is why it is so important for patients with pathologies of the cardiovascular system to undergo examinations, to know the first signs of the development of myocardial infarction in women and men, always be ready to call an ambulance. Your health and life, as well as the lives of your loved ones, alongside which you find yourself at the right moment, may depend on your ability to correctly identify the symptoms of the disease, competent and prompt actions.
Symptoms of myocardial infarction at different stages of the disease
Signs of myocardial infarction differ at different stages of the development of pathology. During the course of the disease, 4 stages are distinguished:
- stage of ischemia or the most acute period;
- stage of necrosis (acute period);
- organization stage or subacute period;
- postinfarction period (stage of scarring).
About 40% of all recorded heart attacks come as a surprise to the patient. Most often, doctors explain these inattention of people to their health. In the remaining 60% of cases, angina attacks precede the disease for a long time.
First alarm signal – the appearance of pain in the chest, back, left shoulder or forearm, sometimes extending to the jaw, ear, and less often – in the stomach and lower back. The nature of the pain is different: from mild and sluggish to acute and cutting. Typically, these pains occur after playing sports or during daily physical exertion, emotional distress and stress. These are the first signs of coronary heart disease. Nine out of ten cases of coronary artery disease develop due to atherosclerosis of the blood vessels (cholesterol deposits in the inner walls of the blood vessels) that supply blood to the heart muscle.
Such attacks can be observed in a patient from several weeks to two, three or more years and often, if not intervened, end up with myocardial infarction. Noticed such at home? Immediately contact the experts! Timely measures taken, diagnosis and monitoring by doctors will help to avoid the development of the disease.
If ischemic heart disease is not treated, then the next stage can be an acute period of a heart attack.
Remember the following signs and symptoms of myocardial infarction:
- The first symptom of myocardial infarction is acute, constricting or pressing chest pain, radiating to adjacent organs, left ear, jaw, left arm, and sometimes the upper abdomen. Pain can last from half an hour to a day and, unlike angina, is not relieved by taking nitroglycerin;
- patients with the first signs of a heart attack may complain of toothache;
- painful condition accompanied by chills, weakness and dizziness, sometimes shortness of breath and cold sweat;
- arrhythmia develops, the pulse is markedly increased;
- skin due to lack of blood supply becomes pale gray.
The nature and strength of pain in myocardial infarction depend on the focus of the muscle lesion. The more it is – the stronger the pain. Sometimes abrupt cardiac arrest is the only symptom of a heart attack.
The most acute period is one of the most dangerous stages of the disease. Part of the tissue of the heart muscle is already dead, and the heart, being in unusual conditions for it, can not withstand the load and stop. Sensing these symptoms, making sure that the usual remedies for stenocardia do not help, immediately call an ambulance.
Symptoms in the acute stage of myocardial infarction become less pronounced. The pain subsides. As a result of the tissue necrosis, the patient’s temperature rises, which may, depending on the focus of necrosis, not fall to 7-10 days.
In the subacute period, signs of myocardial infarction disappear, palpitations and body temperature are normalized. In a week or two after a heart attack, the dead portion of the heart muscle begins to scar.
In the postinfarction period, the symptoms of the disease are absent. But attacks of angina will not just disappear, so if you do not take measures, the likelihood of recurrent myocardial infarction is great. To avoid this, it is necessary to treat the root causes of pathology: ischemic disease and atherosclerosis. Due to vascular lesions, not only the heart, but also the limbs, the digestive organs and the brain (cerebral infarction) suffer from cholesterol plaques.
Symptoms and signs of myocardial infarction in women
A female heart attack has a number of atypical features and is less studied than a male one. The fact is that women are less likely to suffer from coronary heart disease. Estrogen, a hormone that is produced by the female body for almost a lifetime, helps them in this. It prevents the development of atherosclerosis. After menopause, the amount of estrogen in the body decreases and the chances of developing coronary heart disease in women increase.
Forerunners of myocardial infarction in women are often limb edema that appears by the end of the day, chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, problems with digestion.
Often a heart attack in women occurs without severe chest pain, and may be accompanied by nausea, high fever and high blood pressure. Sometimes a false toothache develops. There are also cases of asymptomatic heart attacks.
Such a course of the disease is much more dangerous, since the patient can endure the first signs of the disease, without giving them much importance. Some patients who have experienced a heart attack learn about it only after a while, undergoing diagnosis.
Symptoms and signs of myocardial infarction in men
In men, the course of the disease has all the characteristic features:
- sharp pain behind the sternum, in the left arm, shoulder and forearm;
- sticky cold sweat;
- weakness, dizziness, pale gray skin color;
- shortness of breath, rapid pulse;
- high blood pressure.
Despite the development of medicine, more and more often acute myocardial infarction is diagnosed in both men and women younger than 40 years. The reason for this is a sedentary lifestyle; diet with a predominance of unhealthy fats, which are rich in fast food products; obesity; smoking; diabetes. Often in young patients an asymptomatic form of heart attack occurs.
Signs of atypical myocardial infarction in women and men
Atypical symptoms of the disease are observed in elderly patients who have experienced one or more myocardial infarctions. By the nature of the symptoms there are several atypical forms:
- the abdominal form is characterized by indigestion, nausea, vomiting, and hiccups;
- in asthmatic form, the patient feels choking, he may develop a cough;
- cerebral form is represented by dizziness, pre-unconscious states;
- atypical pain syndrome (toothache, pain in the neck, left ear, spine, left leg, fingers of the left hand).
Often, acute myocardial infarction occurs without signs or symptoms in both women and men and is detected only a while after the patient has performed an ECG. Painless infarction is characteristic of patients with diabetes, because it dulls pain syndrome. Such a course of the disease is much more dangerous: the absence of symptoms of myocardial infarction makes it difficult to provide first aid to the patient. The only way to avoid the development of coronary heart disease and prevent myocardial infarction is to promptly and regularly diagnose the cardiovascular system. At the Center for Circulatory Pathology, our specialists work with the latest equipment from Europe, the USA and Asia, which can diagnose the disease long before the first signs and symptoms of myocardial infarction. Treatment in our center is based on the best experience of domestic and foreign medical practices.
For patients whose health does not allow to come to our Center, there is a special department for on-site diagnostics. Based on a special method of non-surgical treatment of cardiovascular diseases, we develop a unique complex of therapy and diagnostics for everyone who applies to our clinic.