A heart attack is still one of the most leading causes of mortality in the world today. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), ischemic heart disease or heart attack accounted for more than 9 million deaths in 2016, making it the number one leading cause of death globally. It does not matter what socioeconomic status you have, whether you be part of a lower, middle, or upper-class country, the risk of you getting a cardiac disease is still high. Getting diagnosed with a cardiovascular disorder affects a lot of aspects in one’s life, including medical or dental procedures that they can avail themselves of. It is important then to inform your doctors and dentists of your medical history so they could check the services that they can safely offer to you. Knowing the parameters of a heart attack risk assessment can be beneficial to all of us, especially those who have been diagnosed to have a weak heart.
What is a heart attack?
It is so difficult to specifically explain how a heart attack happens. But to simplify it, a heart attack occurs when the blood vessels supplying the heart with blood get blocked, making the heart lose a significant amount of oxygen that it needs to function properly. This is called ischemia which will later cause myocardial infarction or the damage or death of heart muscles which is also called a heart attack.
What causes heart attacks?
Heart diseases. Coronary artery disease or a medical problem with one of the most prominent arteries in the heart is the main cause of a heart attack.
Diet. If a person loves to consume food and beverages that are bad for the heart because of its high bad fat (saturated fat) content, salt, or sugar, risks of having a heart attack are high.
Stress. This is a factor that indirectly affects a heart attack. When a person is stressed, high levels of adrenaline and cortisol are secreted in the body, harming the normal flow and pressure of the blood. There are also studies that show stress affects blood clotting, so it increased the risk of blockage in the blood vessels.
Symptoms of a heart attack
Be aware of the possible signs that a person is having a heart attack. Keep in mind that although these symptoms may also signify or determine a different condition, it is still best to keep an eye on them and rush the patient to the nearest emergency department just to keep them safe.
- Discomfort or tingling in the arms or other parts of the upper body like the neck, jaw, and back.
- Difficulty breathing
- Sweating, dizziness, and vomiting
- Palpitations or increased heart rate
- Chest pain
What is a heart attack risk assessment?
Because doctors and other health professionals are becoming concerned about the number of cases that encounters a heart attack, most of them even getting the worst outcome which is death, they devised a plan, called a heart attack risk assessment, to assess healthy individuals and determine if they are candidates of having a heart attack in the future. A heart attack risk assessment can be performed in different ways, depending on the doctor and the medical establishment or need, but it follows the same criteria and factors to cover.
Factors or indicators in medical history:
- Patient’s age
- Family history (genetics or hereditary)
- Weight (obesity)
- Lifestyle (smoking, alcohol consumption, diet, exercise, etc)
- Medical history (existing heart disease, diabetes)
Apart from getting a patient’s history and information through interviews, a heart attack risk assessment also requires laboratory tests that can help identify the risk for a heart attack in a healthy person. A doctor who identifies a patient to be at risk of developing a risk for a heart attack may request tests like a ECG, stress test, cardiac catheterization, and a comprehensive blood chemistry test to get the lipid profile or your cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood which may cause the blockage or hardening of the arteries.