Heart ProblemsThe heart is a muscle that pumps blood around the body, which it does with the help of the thick-walled and muscular arteries and the other vessels of the circulatory system. The heart is controlled by regular electrical impulses that tell it when to contract. Like all other muscles, the heart needs its own blood supply and this is provided by the coronary (heart) arteries. When this blood supply fails to run smoothly, the body starts to experience problems, such as angina Pectoris (angina) and heart attack. Either of these may lead to the heart stopping (cardiac arrest).
Throughout life, arteries are clogging up with fatty deposits. As these fatty deposits cause the coronary and other arteries to become narrower, it becomes increasingly difficult for blood to flow around the body. The clogged coronary arteries can just about supply blood to the heart when it is pumping at a normal rate but when the heart rate speeds up the arteries cannot cope with the demand. This leads to an angina attack, a frightening, severe, crushing chest pain that acts as a warning to the casualty to calm down or to rest.
Signs and symptoms of angina
First Aid Treatment
If the coronary artery becomes completely blocked, the area of the heart being supplied by that particular blood vessel will be starved of oxygen and will eventually die. This blockage may be caused by a clot, a condition often referred to as a coronary thrombosis.
The development of advanced cardiac care in hospital and good post-hospital care means that heart attack patients have a good chance of making a full recovery. This is important information to remember when you are reassuring somebody having a heart attack.
Signs and symptoms of a heart attack
These signs and symptoms are generally the same as those of angina - indeed, the patient may initially suffer an angina attack that becomes a heart attack. The key difference is that heart attacks do not always follow physical exertion. While angina sufferers will recover from their attack on resting, heart attack patients do not tend to improve without medical treatment.
First Aid Treatment
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