LISTEN TO YOUR HEART

In Ireland an estimated 80,000 adults are diagnosed annually with coronary heart disease. This figure is expected to grow to more than 103,000 by 2020. In 2011, 5,563 people were discharged from hospital with a primary diagnosis of myocardial infarction (heart attack) while 2,157 people died from this condition in the same year.

A Heart Attack occurs when the normal blood flow to the hear is interrupted and it is deprived of oxygen, causing damage to the heart tissue or arteries. Signs of a Heart Attack include: Shortness of Breath, Back Pain, Shoulder Pain, Arm or jaw Pain, Chest Pain. The quicker treatment begins, the greater the chances of surviving a heart attack.

Ten to fifteen per cent of people who have a heart attack may not feel anything. This is more common in older people, especially women and those with diabetes. Sometimes these people just feel weak, tired or short of breath. Some elderly patients may simply become confused.

The most common heart attack symptoms are:
* Chest pain that won’t go away
* Feeling of fullness, squeezing, tightness or chest pressure (“Like an elephant sitting on your chest)
* Pain may spread to the arms, particularly the left arm and the arms can feel heavy or
* Pain can also spread to neck, jaw, back or shoulders

There are also many associated heart attack symptoms that you should be aware of. These are:
* Shortness of breath with or without chest pain
* Nausea/Indigestion/Heart burn
* Cold sweat
* Fatigue
* Choking feeling in your throat
* Light headedness or dizziness
* Looking pale

There are a number of unavoidable risk factors that increase one’s likelihood of having a heart attack. These are as follows:
* If you have had a previous heart attack
* Age – Males over 40 years and women over 50 years carry a higher risk of heart attack. While males have higher risk until the age of 70, after 70 years of age the risk is equal for both genders
* Genetics – If you have a family history of coronary heart disease
* Current medical conditions (e.g. diabetes and kidney disease )

There are many other factors which may increase your risk of having a heart attack; however, these are deemed to be avoidable risk factors. These are as follows:
Smoking, High blood pressure, High cholesterol, Obesity, Poor diet, Excess alcohol consumption, Stress and Physical inactivity.

To learn more about the risk factors and how to reduce your risk of a heart attack, please visit www.irishheart.ie

For a conversation with a representative from the Cardiology Department at Aut Even Hospital please call, 056 7725275