When your arteries start to clog with fatty plaque – a condition called atherosclerosis — you are on the road to a heart attack. McLeod Cardiologist Dr. Vaishali Swami points out the symptoms to spot so you can seek treatment and avoid a heart attack:
Here is a summary of Dr. Swami’s comments:
Atherosclerosis is a big word that basically means “disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries of the body.” Arteries, as you might remember from elementary school, are the vessels that provide oxygenated blood from the heart to the organs of the body. When plaque develops in these vessels [it narrows the artery and] we can experience decreased blood flow.
I want to take an opportunity to talk about preventing heart attacks and recognition of symptoms. Symptoms can vary in males and females but we need to at least be aware of what the symptoms are so that they can be properly addressed.
The most common symptoms are chest pressure or pain. The pain may go down the neck and up the arm. You might feel shortness of breath, nausea and, possibly, vomiting. Those are the most common symptoms of a heart attack but it doesn’t always occur that way.
Sometimes we have symptoms such as jaw pain, significant fatigue, just not “feeling right” or an awareness that something’s just terribly wrong. It is important everyone be educated on the signs and symptoms to look for.
Lifestyle changes are very important for prevention of atherosclerosis. The things that we need to work on are:
Diabetes awareness and adequate treatment is also a big issue.