Heart blockage symptoms

A heart blockage, otherwise known as cardiovascular disease, is a leading cause of death among both men and women. As a result of high cholesterol levels, plaque builds up in the artery walls. Over time, the plaque will rupture, causing the formation of a blood clot. When this blood clot is loose and moving through the arteries, it can easily get caught and cause a blockage. At first, this may not seem like such a problem, but if it persists for an extended period of time or happens in more than one area, blood flow to the heart will be severely restricted. This means that the heart is not receiving enough blood or oxygen; this eventually damages the heart permanently. Since this can happen to just about anyone, it is important to pay attention to your lifestyle to do everything you can to prevent it. It is equally important to know what the symptoms are, since some are not so obvious, so you can know when to contact emergency personnel.

What Causes a Heart Block?
It was mentioned above that a heart block ultimately results from a blood clot that came from the release of built-up plaque. But what, you may ask, causes the plaque to build up in the first place? Starting at a young age, fat can begin to deposit itself into the walls of the blood vessels. More and more deposits result in an abundance of fat, and when the vessels try to heal themselves, they end up releasing a sticky substance. As other things travel through the blood stream, such as proteins or calcium, they are unable to surpass the stickiness of the blood vessel walls. This pile of gunk then becomes a substance called plaque.  The plaque can break off, becoming a dangerous blood clot.

Symptoms of a Heart Block

Depending on the severity of the heart block, the symptoms that are experienced may not be as noticeable. In any case, seek medical attention as soon as you begin experiencing any of these symptoms, even if they are only mild. If you wait too long, the condition could worsen and cause irreversible heart damage.

  • Severe pain in the upper right abdomen
  • Painful or burning feeling in the upper abdomen
  • Indigestion unrelated to eating
  • Chest pain that radiates to the jaw, neck, or arm
  • Slow or irregular heartbeat
  • Arrhythmias
  • Blackouts
  • Breathlessness that can come on its own, with exertion, or from a fever
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Pressure on the chest
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tightness in the throat
  • Paleness

If it has progressed to a heart attack…

  • Chest pain that cannot be relieved by taking nitroglycerin
  • Chest pain combined with an erratic or irregular pulse
  • Sweating
  • Hands that feel cold and clammy
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

How to Prevent a Heart Blockage
There are certain lifestyle factors that put a person more at risk for cardiovascular disease. Reducing these risks and making lifestyle changes can help a lot in the ways of preventing a heart block.

  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Drink only moderately.
  • Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian about making changes to your diet to lower cholesterol levels.
  • Get regular blood pressure checks and make any necessary changes.
  • If you have Diabetes, Types 1 or Type 2, take steps to keep your blood sugar in control.
  • Eating low fat and low salt foods is highly recommended.
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week to help maintain a healthy weight.
Last updated on Nov 26th, 2010 and filed under Cardiovascular Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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