Symptoms and Causes of Heart Attacks

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For years doctors and hospitals have expressed the serious of heart attacks in people and because people don’t know the basic symptoms to look for when someone is experiencing one. People are not aware of the dangers of having a heart attack and the foods that can lead to having one. Heart attacks are one of the leading reasons of death in the United states and around the world. There has been extensive research done on the main causes and symptoms and why it is not being taken seriously.

There needs to be better awareness and information that is exposed to the public so that one can recognize the effects and seriousness of heart attacks. Doctors also need to pay attention to patient’s medical history in order to rule out other ideas of what is happening when they enter the emergency room because there can be indifferent symptoms that patients are experiencing. Heart attacks will be analyzed in how to prevent them before they occur along with symptoms to look for while having a heart attack. Research has been done to look at the many different reasons

Heart Attacks and Precautions that can be Taken

Heart attacks can be a very frightening experience for the person experiencing one and for loved ones around them. They are known as the number one killer in the United States and around the world. We must educate ourselves and others about the symptoms and prevention that we can take heed to. There are basic signs that people experience when they are experiencing a heart attack and then there are other symptoms that people don’t know so much about. A heart attack can be plaque buildup which causes the blood to not be able to reach the tissues that need oxygen. There are different terms that can be used when referring to heart attacks as in myocardial infarction and acute coronary syndrome. Throughout the world heart attacks are the number one killer which signals why we need to create better foods information and preventative care in different patients.

Background of Blood Flow

Blood flow through the heart starts by the blood entering the right atrium from the superior and inferior vena cava with oxygen poor blood that has just returned from the body. The blood persists to flow into the right ventricle as the tricuspid valve slams shut so no further blood can enter the right ventricle. The blood then flows to the lung through the Pulmonary arteries and there in the lungs the oxygen poor blood receives oxygen from gas exchange in the alveoli. The blood then flows to the left atrium located in the heart through the pulmonary veins. The blood travels into the left ventricle and through the aortic valve through the rest of the body with this process happening with every heartbeat. The blood is pushed through the coronary arteries which feeds the heart itself and this is where the heart lacks the nutrients it needs when there is a blockage.

Coronary Arteries Symptoms and Causes

Heart attack. (2018, May 30). Symptoms and causes of a heart attack can suddenly come on from a long history of high blood pressure, diabetes and often are candidates of people that don’t exercise and eat well. The heart lacks blood because of an obstruction in the coronary arteries from plaque buildup}. High cholesterol is a main ingredient which causes plaque to stick in the coronary arteries and can cause the onset of a heart attack. When the heart lacks oxygen and nutrition the heart tissue will die. The heart is the main pump which supplies the whole body with the oxygen that it needs and if the pump is out then you will suffer and die.

When there is build up inside your arteries this blocks the flow through the arteries and your arteries cannot expand and shrink to let less blood or more blood through the area that the blood needs to flow. This will attempt to create plaque in the arteries which can also be named atherosclerosis which will harden and when the arteries harden there is a way for the plaque to chip off. Platelets in your blood which are a blood clotting method will start to form on the plaque. When this plaque is formed then this will stop the blood flow to certain areas of your heart. Coronary arteries supply blood to different areas of the heart and if the area that is cut off is further up the heart then there will be more damage to the heart.


There is also a spasm of the heart which occurs in the heart arteries which may happen when you are not performing any activities or when you are performing activities. A spasm can occur if someone smokes which causes the arteries to constrict and causes the heart to work harder and over time this will cause you to have a weaker heart. There are many other ways that a heart can spasm as in having diabetes high blood pressure and high cholesterol. These life-threatening diseases are a direct effect on the heart and will cause your body to lack the functionality that it needs.

Case Example

Symptoms of a heart attack consist of chest pain, chest tightness which can proceed to your arm or neck. There are also symptoms of fatigue, lightheadedness, clammy skin, indigestion, and vomiting. Although these are many symptoms that can fit a heart attack, they are not always the symptoms that people experience. Michael Harrington is a 61-year-old male who experienced a heart attack and only had symptoms of pain in his chest. He didn’t know that he was experiencing a heart attack and waited for a couple of hours until he went to the hospital. When he arrived at the hospital the doctors put a stint in his heart and kept him under observation for about 3 days.

After a few days there was more pain in his chest which had the doctors look at his heart again and they found fluid around the heart which gives less room for the heart to pump. This fluid builds up was caused because he waited so long to get to the hospital which caused the doctors to have to break his chest (M. Harrington, personal communication, October 30, 2018). This is to give awareness of how serious a heart attack can be and how quickly one needs to get medical attention. If we all become aware that there can be different symptoms pertaining to a heart attack, then we can proceed to save lives in us and all around.

Male and Female Symptoms

Heart attack symptoms are different for men and women. (2018, March 15).Symptoms in men and women can be a little different, as stated in the New York and Amsterdam news: men’s symptom are chest pain that extend from the neck to back and arms, shortness of breath, fatigue, fainting and lightheadedness (p.31). Women’s pain is less specific like a sticking or pressing in the chest, arms neck and back, indigestion, backache, dizziness, fatigue and numbness (p.31). Women will suffer more loss because they will not notice something is wrong before it is too late because their symptoms are so different than the usual. There needs to be an awareness in male symptoms and female symptoms which will help one understand about the differences in symptoms.

Obscure Symptoms

Although there are specific symptoms in understanding of a heart attack there are also the symptoms that are hidden and unusual. As stated by Shaikh, N., Raj, R., Movva, S., & Mattina, C. (2018) as the only presenting of ST elevation myocardial infarction: A man that was not in to great of shape and suffered from disease known as Diabetes. Doctors tested his hart when he came in with persistent hiccups known as angiography the test showed that there was an occlusion in right coronary artery.

There were no other symptoms that showed a heart attack and did not show symptoms of acute coronary syndrome which is a symptom that will bring on lack of sudden blood flow to the heart but was considered to have a history of health problems known for problems with the heart. The hospital sent this man home with a cardiac defibrillator vest and was told to follow up with therapy.

Hiccups are emergence of unstable diaphragmatic and intercostal muscle decline and can be caused by an aggravation to the phrenic nerve, which is a nerve that proceeds through the lung and heart to the diaphragm. Hiccups are usually caused by nervous system disorder and correlating this with a heart attack and that is why a history overview is required. So persistent hiccups has been identified as inferior wall of the myocardium being affected and also means that the inferior wall known as the diaphragmatic surface of the heart lies close to the diaphragm (p.1).

Although there are different signs of a heart attack there are other symptoms, we can look at in the matter of finding a heart attack. The hospital can also look at a patient’s history of health problems and immediately go to what is typical when having a persistent symptom. Health history can be one of the main ways a doctor can see what the problem might be because when you have a long history of health problems that typically lead to heart health problems one might want to look at the history first.

Preventive Care

People often times don’t think about the harm that they can do when they put certain foods in their mouth. People need to educate themselves about the dangers of high fat foods and how it can affect their heart. As statistics show there is a lack of information that is available to raise awareness in how foods can affect one’s heart. There is also lack of the signs and symptoms to look for in a heart attack. Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death worldwide if we have more of recognition to heart attacks than we can have people understand what symptoms to look for.

As stated Rius-Ottenheim, N., Kromhout, D., Sijtsma, F. P. C., Geleijnse, J. M., & Giltay, E. J. (2017). Nutrient dense foods such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, potatoes, lean meat, fish, eggs, low fat dairy are all good factors from preventing heart attacks. Healthy diets have been linked to better mental health in people that have suffered heart attacks. Patients had more optimism and less depression. Depression is well known disease with people that have had heart attacks, and cases less quality of life and high cost in healthcare. Pharmacotherapy and Psychotherapy have not given great results, but lifestyle factors have shown great results. The foods that these individuals were eating before were processed foods, sugar and fat. The best diet was one that consists of Mediterranean diet and low fat.

Causes for Heart Attacks

The fast food in the United Sates has gotten out of control there are less home cooked meals and a faster paced life than most countries. Americans have switched their eating at home to eating out for breakfast lunch and dinner. People do not realize the calories that are being put in their bodies and some fail to care if they are over doing the calorie intake, so long as it tastes good and is easy access to their busy schedules. We need to proceed to lace our environment with more healthy fast food options so that we can become a healthier nation. If we laced our environment with healthy optional fast foods, then people would need to be wiser at choosing the heathy option over the unhealthy option.


Mata, J., Frank, R., & Gigerenzer, G. (2014). In a heart study a sample of 10,228 was taken from around the world and ages 14-98 were chosen to be part of a study. Chest pain was one of the only recognized symptoms noticed by more than 50% of people that had heart attacks. Germans and Austrians were recognized as the largest number of people to have symptoms along with many not knowing how to react when in the middle of having a heart attack. Rapid access to treatment reduces deaths and disability, and one must realize symptoms quickly and act quickly.

Public knowledge is about symptoms and best action is the number one thing to do to prevent morbidity from a heart attack. Cardiovascular disease pertaining to death is the highest in Austria and Poland with Poland almost double than the rest. The three main questions research asks are what to do in the event of a heart attack, what difference in levels exist between countries, and what they do in action relevant knowledge. Leaflets and pamphlets were source of most frequency of recognition of heart attacks and a secondary informant was the intranet for information.

The next was there health care professional with Germany being the highest. Women are the ones to recognize symptoms of cardiovascular disease most often throughout the world. Ignorance pertaining to heart attacks are what are contributing to the mortality rate being so high. We see that heart disease is an epidemic throughout the world and not in one area of the world.

Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2017.As we look at the statistics and how heart disease affects 801,00 of us adult’s each year, we can see that the numbers are quite high. Which means two thousand two hundred adults will die each day. This sums up to be more than cancer and lower respiratory disease all together. Cardiovascular disease amounts to three hundred and sixteen billion dollars for the cost of health care.

Foundations such as the American Heart Association has put forth over 4 billion within themselves in trying to better how we can get through to those that are not taking eating and exercise seriously. They have succeeded funding the creation of heart valves, pacemakers, cholesterol inhibitors and drug coated stints. These are major break throughs in the medical field and have helped hundreds of patients with cardiovascular disease. If we started in the home with our foods and exercise, then we would not have to spend so much money on fixing the problems that we have created.

Local Research

Nutrition. (2018, October 05). According to the CDC Texas alone ranks eighteenth in the United States for heart disease which is a whopping forty-three thousand seven hundred and seventy-two, people under sixty-five years of age that have died from heart disease. Texas offers food choices with large amount of saturated fats and little vegetables. There are certain guidelines that states can follow for the fruit and vegetable servings. Texas does not follow the guidelines for the minimum requirement on fruits and vegetables according to the CDC (p.11)

Menopausal Female Symptoms

Savonitto, S., Ferri, L. A., & Colombo, D. (2018). Vasomotor symptoms are menopause symptoms that appear when a woman is around the age of 45-55. When this comes into effect women with more Estrogen is giving women an advantage towards women by 10 years compared to men pertaining to heart attacks. Women that are going through menopause are seen to equalize with the rate of men getting heart attacks. There have been studies done to show protective effects of estrogen against atherosclerosis and related diseases.

Women that are reporting vasomotor symptoms have early onset of myocardial infarction compared to women without symptoms. There is a link between vasomotor and heart attacks. When we look at how many different things can affect and help one’s body, we all must be more aware of our own bodies and how different each body can be compared to the other. This is why physical checkups of one’s body is crucial to staying healthy especially for women that are going through menopause. There is hormone replacement treatment that can help women through this period of change throughout their life.


The numbers in Heart attacks are at an all-time high with the foods that we eat and lack of knowledge of signs and symptoms. If we come together to address this problem and take aim at the major causes, then we can defeat this killer. People need to take their own health and take part in order to make sure that they understand what it is they need to be doing. We also need to understand our own bodies and the changes that one can experience as we get older. If we can address these issues than we can become a healthier world and feel better in the process.


  1. United States Department of Agriculture. Agriculture Marketing Services, Food Hub Directory (2017). Data accessed December 31, 2017. Retrieved from https://www.ams.usda.gov/local-food-directories/foodhubs.
  2. Coronary arteries. (2018). In H. Marcovitch (Ed.), Black’s Medical Dictionary, 43rd edition (43rd ed.). London, UK: A&C Black. Retrieved from http://lscsproxy.lonestar.edu/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/blackmed/coronary_arteries/0?institutionId=5037

Cite this paper

Symptoms and Causes of Heart Attacks. (2021, May 13). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/symptoms-and-causes-of-heart-attacks/

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