What You Need to Know About the Treatment of a Heart Attack

If you’re like most people, you don’t want to think about having a heart attack ever happening to you, but the unfortunate reality is that heart attacks are surprisingly common, especially in those over 40 years old. That’s why it’s so important to know how to treat one should it happen to you, as well as what steps you can take to prevent yourself from ever getting one in the first place. To find out more about heart attacks and their treatment, keep reading this article.

Procedures

Bypass surgery, angioplasty and stenting are three treatments for heart attacks. Bypass surgery is used when there is total blockage in one or more coronary arteries. An artery that supplies blood to an organ such as your heart is called a coronary artery, so bypass surgery is performed on patients who have blocked arteries that supply blood to their hearts.

Medications

Nitroglycerin, better known as Nitro, is an emergency treatment used in heart attacks and angina. Patients are given nitroglycerin pills or have patches put on their skin to help relieve pain and improve blood flow. When used within 12 hours of symptoms, it’s often able to prevent damage or death caused by heart attacks. It comes in pill form or as a patch placed directly on the skin. Aspirin is also useful for heart attack patients.

Thrombolytic Therapy

TPA is approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in acute myocardial infarction. This therapy involves injecting an enzyme directly into your bloodstream. The enzyme helps dissolve your blood clot, restoring blood flow to your heart.

Antiplatelets

Studies show that taking aspirin immediately after a heart attack can reduce your risk of dying from it by 20 percent. What’s more, aspirin is known to help prevent future heart attacks and strokes—it prevents platelets from forming clots by preventing them from sticking together. If you’ve had a heart attack, talk with your doctor about starting an antiplatelet regimen immediately upon discharge.

Anticoagulants

Because blood clots are a common cause of heart attacks, doctors generally prescribe blood thinners to prevent them from getting worse. These drugs are called anticoagulants and they’re designed to keep your blood thinner so it flows more easily through your body. Popular examples include warfarin (Coumadin), apixaban (Eliquis), rivaroxaban (Xarelto) and heparin.

Beta-Blockers

These drugs slow down your heart rate. Your doctor may prescribe them when you have chest pain and no signs of heart damage. They can also help control blood pressure if it’s dangerously high. Beta-blockers aren’t used as much anymore because they can cause side effects like dizziness, fatigue, and cold hands or feet.

Statins

Cholesterol is important for building new cells and is crucial for brain health, yet it can also contribute to clogged arteries. Statins are drugs designed to lower cholesterol. They have been linked with a reduced risk of heart attack, heart disease, and stroke, as well as improved memory function in older adults. However, statins are expensive and come with side effects like muscle pain and weakness.

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