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Blood Marker Can Predict Risk for Heart Attacks

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 Heart Attacks

Heart attacks are deadly diseases and can claim life within seconds to minutes. This is why we have to identify its risk factors so that it can be prevented. A blood test has been found out to predict the risk for heart attack in those with chest pain.

Heart Attack

Myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack is a common cause of deaths around the world. Death and debilitation can be due to the damage to the heart muscle it brings. This damage to the heart muscle is often caused by the blockage of a coronary (heart) artery by a blood clot. Coronary arteries are blood vessels that supply the heart muscle with oxygen and nutrients. If there is blockage to blood flow, there may be injury to the heart muscle, further causing injury. This brings about signs and symptoms of such as chest pain and chest pressure. If there is no restoration of blood flow to the heart muscle within 20 to 40 minutes, there will be irreversible death of the heart muscle. The heart muscle will continue to die within six to eight hours, thus completing the heart attack. Dead heart muscle may be replaced by scar tissues.

Millions of people are affected by heart attacks every year around the world. There are many causes of heart attacks one of the most common of which is atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the process wherein there is plaque formation of cholesterol which is deposited in the walls of arteries. These cholesterol plaques cause hardening of the blood vessels and narrowing of the inner lumen of the artery. Narrowed arteries by atherosclerosis cannot deliver enough blood into the parts of the body they supply. The resultant reduced blood flow leading to organ damage.

For many years, atherosclerosis may remain silent for years or decades. It may begin during teenage years and may not cause symptoms until late adulthood when the narrowing of the arteries becomes more severe. Factors that may cause the fast development of atherosclerosis include cigarettes smoking, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels and diabetes mellitus. A person with a family history of atherosclerosis may also have a higher chance of acquiring this disorder.

Atherosclerosis can affect the blood vessels of the heart and is termed as coronary atherosclerosis. This can cause hardening and narrowing of the blood vessels of the heart, resulting to coronary heart diseases such as heart attacks, sudden cardiac death, chest pain, abnormal heart rhythms and heart failure.

Chest pain in heart attacks occurs when there is inadequate blood and oxygen supply to the heart muscle. When there is narrowing of the coronary arteries by about 50 to 70 percent, the arteries may not increase the blood supply to the heart muscle during exercise or other stressful situations. This shortage of oxygen may cause chest pain or angina which may be evident especially in times of exertion. In patients such as those with diabetes, there may be little or no chest pain felt during the heart attack.

Angina or chest pain is one of the symptoms of a heart attack. This may also be felt as pressure, heaviness, squeezing or aching on the chest. Pain may be transmitted to the jaw, the neck, the arms, the back and the teeth and may be accompanied by nausea, shortness of breath or cold sweat. This discomfort may be relieved by nitroglycerin tablets placed under the tongue. This medicine can decrease the heart muscle's demand for oxygen thus relieving angina.

New Blood Marker in Heart Attacks

A new study has shown that an undetectable level of high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T along with a normal ECG is a sign that a person may have a minimal risk of heart attack within a month. The results of this study are presented in the recent American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session. The study gathered data from 14,636 patients who reported to a Swedish emergency department for chest pain during the years 2010 to 2012. The results showed that about 9,000 patients with an undetectable level of the biomarker, or less than 5ng/L, on initial testing, and whose ECGs showed no heart damage from decreased blood flow had low risk for the disorder.

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