Heart Attack
Heart Attack

What is a heart attack?

A heart attack occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked, most often by a build-up of fat, cholesterol and other substances, which form a plaque in the arteries that feed the heart (coronary arteries). The interrupted blood flow can damage or destroy part of the heart muscle.

What are the symptoms of a heart attack?

The most common symptoms are:

  • Chest pain: pressure, tightness, squeezing, burning, or fullness in the middle of the chest. The chest pain lasts at least a few minutes and may go away and come back.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Discomfort in one or both arms, shoulders, lower jaw, back or stomach.

Other symptoms include:

  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Cold sweats.
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness.
  • Unusual fatigue.
  • Extreme weakness.
  • Irregular heart beats.
  • Loss of consciousness.

Keep in mind that some people especially women, diabetics, and elderly don’t feel the typical chest pain during a heart attack. They may have one or more of the associated symptoms instead, such as epigastria pain, indigestion, back pain, etc.

What should I do in case I have a heart attack?

If you have chest pains and/or you suspect that you might be having a heart attack, call for help immediately! Don’t call a friend. Call for emergency. You should head to the nearest emergency room as soon as possible. Heart attack is an emergency situation. Every second matters for your life to be saved. Every minute you waste, you might be losing parts of your heart muscle.

What is the treatment of a heart attack?

The treatment options for a heart attack depend on whether you have had an ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), or another type of heart attack.

A STEMI is the most serious form of heart attack and requires emergency assessment and treatment. It is important that you are treated quickly to minimize damage to your heart.
If you have symptoms of a heart attack and an electrocardiogram (ECG) shows you have a STEMI, you will be assessed for treatment to unblock the coronary arteries.
The treatment used will depend on when your symptoms started and how soon you can access treatment.

  • If your symptoms started within the past 12 hours: You will usually be offered primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).
  • If your symptoms started within the past 12 hours but you cannot access PCI quickly: You will be offered medication to break down blood clots.
  • If your symptoms started more than 12 hours ago: You may be offered a different procedure, especially if symptoms have improved. The best course of treatment will be decided after an angiogram and may include medication, PCI or bypass surgery.

Lifestyle and home remedies

Your lifestyle affects your heart health. The following steps can help you not only prevent but also recover from a heart attack:

  • Avoid smoking: The most important thing you can do to improve your heart's health is to not smoke. Also, avoid being around secondhand smoke. If you need to quit, ask your doctor for help.
  • Control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels: If one or both of these is high, your doctor can prescribe changes to your diet and medication.
  • Get regular medical checkups: Some of the major risk factors for heart attack — high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes —.Your doctor can perform tests to check for these conditions and help you manage them, if necessary.
  • Exercise regularly: Regular exercise helps improve heart muscle function after a heart attack and helps prevent a heart attack by helping you to control your weight, diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure. Walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week can improve your health.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight strains your heart and can contribute to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet: Eat a heart-healthy diet that includes lean proteins, such as fish and beans, plenty of fruits and vegetables and whole grains, avoid saturated, trans fat and cholesterol in your diet.
  • Manage diabetes: High blood sugar is damaging to your heart. Regular exercise, eating well and losing weight all help to keep blood sugar levels at more-desirable levels. Many people also need medication to manage their diabetes.
  • Control stress: Reduce stress in your day-to-day activities. Rethink workaholic habits and find healthy ways to minimize or deal with stressful events in your life.

Does my Insurance Policy cover treatment of heart attack?

Yes. According to CCHI unified Policy terms and conditions, health insurance policies in Saudi Arabia cover the treatment of heart attack.

Please Click Here to access the Unified CCHI Policy Wordings.


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