Acute coronary syndrome - Is your heart protected
Acute coronary syndrome is triggered by build-ups of excessive plaques in the coronary arteries - a condition known as coronary arteriosclerosis. These plaques are made up of fatty acids and they restrict blood flow to the heart. As a result, the heart cannot pump sufficient oxygen rich blood to the rest of the body. It results into chest pain or angina.
The arteries get narrowed more when the build-ups of plaque rupture. It leads to formation of blood clot, which further hinders the blood supply. If blood flow to heart is very low, it can lead to heart attack. First sign of acute coronary syndrome is cardiac arrest or sudden stopping of heart.
The blood clots may disappear and recur after some time. However, damage done to heart tissue is not reversible. Cells in the heart slowly die when they are deprived of oxygen rich blood.
Acute coronary syndrome can cause unstable angina or heart attack. Unstable angina is not a heart attack, but is the warning sign of the same. It causes chest pain when a person is resting and the pain is not relieved by taking the medications. On the other hand, the heart attack indicates complete blockage of coronary artery, which is to be treated immediately.
Diagnosis of Acute coronary syndrome is usually done with the help of blood test to determine rate of dying of blood cells. Electrocardiogram is also administered to measure heart's electrical activity.
Risk factors: - Risk factors associated with acute coronary syndrome are usually bad lifestyle factors, which increase the risk of any type of cardiovascular disease.
1. Old Age
• For men - age older than 45
• For Women - age older than 55
3. High cholesterol levels in the blood
4. Being overweight
5. Smoking and alcohol consumption
6. Lack of physical activity
7. Sedentary lifestyle
8. Type 2 diabetes
9. Family history of cardiovascular diseases or stroke
10. Family history of gestational diabetes, hypertension or preeclampsia for women.
Signs and symptoms of acute coronary syndrome are similar to those of a heart attack. If they are not treated quickly, they can worsen into heart attack, which may lead to death. Hence, when these signs and symptoms occur, individuals should seek emergency help.
1. Chest pain (angina)
2. Burning sensation in chest
3. Pain in left upper arm
4. Pain in both the arms and legs
5. Chest tightness
6. Pain in jaw
9. Falling short of breath
10. Sudden outburst of sweating
The symptoms of acute coronary syndrome depend on age, sex and underlying disorders. Some individuals may experience some additional symptoms mentioned below:-
1. Abdominal pain
2. Unexplained fatigue
3. Drowsiness and fainting
4. Clammy palms
6. Chest pain like heartburn
Fionn Flemming is a Medical Student and a freelancer who is specialized in writing health related articles and disease.