The heart is the muscular organ located between the lungs in the middle of the chest. It pumps the blood all around the body providing oxygen and nutrients to each and every cell.Like a machine works on fuel and a living body on food, the heart of an organism also requires nutrients for its proper working. Oxygenated blood from the lungs of an organism provides the necessary nourishment (energy and oxygen).
Owing to the vitality of the respective organ a special care must be taken regarding its health but unfortunately, cardiovascular diseases are the foremost cause of deaths universally. They are assuming an alarming proportion in the present society, accounting for an average of 30% of all deaths in 2008, globally.
Among the cardiovascular diseases, the heart attack is the commonest of all. It is also called cardiac arrest and occurs due to heart failure. However, people often mistake the heartburn or chest pain as heart attack pain. Whereas, chest pain or heartburn is an uncomfortable feeling in the upper belly and lower chest region.
What is Heart Attack?
In case of a heart attack, the arteries supplying the blood to the heart are blocked by a thrombus or embolus. A thrombus is a plug like substance formed by the accumulation of fatty substances like cholesterol etc. It is also caused by the aggregation of blood cells and platelets.
The blockage of arteries hinders the supply of blood to the cardiac cells which in turn results in Necrosis i.e. death of the cells. This cellular death is the main reason for the heart attack or heart failure.
Symptoms of Heart Attack
Heart attack comes with varying symptoms that can range from mild to severe but the usual or frequently reported symptoms are as follow,
• Breaking out in a cold sweat
• Being short of breath
• Feeling pain in the arm and shoulder
• Pain in the jaw, neck, and back
• Feeling sick or nauseous
• Feeling very tired or lacking in energy
• Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
• Anxiety or panic attack
People who are aged, obese (high fat intake), and suffering from diseases like
diabetes, and constant high blood pressure etc. are at high risk of heart attack.
What is Chest Pain?
Chest pain is a discomforting condition that basically targets lower chest region and upper belly portion. Chest pain often occurs due to the upthrust of stomach acid to the food pipe. It is a burning pain credited to the acid reflux.
It is confused with a heart attack because of the location of the pain. The acid is refluxed due to either indigestion or overeating. The burning pain also arises if a person immediately lies down after eating. Acid-sensitive nerves present in the food pipe are a possible cause of the pain because unlike stomach, the food pipe lacks the production of mucus to protect its lining from the acid.
Chest pain may also arise if the arteries supplying the blood to the heart are narrowed. It may be due to the accumulation of fats along the endothelium i.e. the walls of the vessels. Vessels are also narrowed when the factors promoting the growth of endothelium fail to function. In such case, the heart receives inadequate nourishment thus a discomforting situation may arise. In case of prolonged narrowing, the pain may result in heart attack.
Symptoms Characterizing Chest Pain
• Burning sensation in the food pipe
• Blotting and belching
Heart attack or heartburn can be diagnosed on the basis of their respective symptoms. Heartburn can be pacified using drugs and medication but a proper treatment is required for the heart attack. In case of prolonged pain, a doctor must be consulted.