A heart attack is so mainstream in movies and TV settings that many people are taking it for granted. While we see a person suffering from a heart attack on screens, there is still a big difference when we see it happening on an actual event. Though many individuals know what heart attack is, there are only few who deeply know and understand what it is all about. As a matter of fact, a heart attack is not only a heart attack. There are different types of heart attacks.
They can happen to anyone, including you. These types of heart attacks are best determined by diagnostic tools which your doctor will need to administer proper treatments and save your life the best way they can.
7 Different Types Of Heart Attacks
Now that we have discussed what heart attack is and how it occurs, we will now dig deeper into the different types of heart attacks that you should take note of.
1. STEMI Heart Attack
STEMI or ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction is a kind of heart attack where there is a complete blockage of the coronary artery. During an STEMI heart attack, a significant portion of your heart muscle will be unable to receive blood.
This is a complex and severe heart attack that requires immediate treatment to let the patient live. An emergency revascularization is done to restore the blood flow in the artery. Thrombolytic drugs, medications that dissolve clots, are given intravenously or angioplasty is done to aid with the revascularization process. Electrocardiogram pattern shows ST segment elevation.
2. NSTEMI Heart Attack
A non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction is a heart attack which does not change the ST-segment elevation of your heart. An NSTEMI attack is less damaging to your heart and the blockage may only be partial or temporary. Though a result of an electrocardiogram will show no elevation of the ST-segment, this type of heart attack will be diagnosed through a blood test because the person with NSTEMI will test positive for the presence of a protein called troponin in their veins.
Treatment for NSTEMI attack will usually consist of medication only. However, evaluation of the condition is done continuously to check whether the blockage should be treated with medication only or through surgery such as angioplasty or cardiac bypass graft.
3. Coronary Artery Spasm
The coronary artery spasm occurs when artery walls tighten and restrict the blood flow causing a heart attack. This is not a result of plaque deposits in the artery walls and could not be discovered through an angiogram. However, this comes and goes and can be treated with certain medications like calcium channel blockers and nitrates.
4. Demand Ischemia
Demand ischemia is one of the types of heart attacks where there is no blockage in the arteries. Demand ischemia only occurs if the heart needs more oxygen but the body cannot supply it, at all due to certain conditions like infection, anemia or tachyarrhythmia where there is an abnormally fast heart rate. This heart attack is often diagnosed with the presence of enzymes indicating heart muscle damage through blood tests.
5. Coronary Thrombosis
Coronary thrombosis occurs when there is a formation of a clot in an artery that conducts blood transfer to the heart muscle. This hinders blood flow to some areas of the heart muscle which will lead to a heart attack. Also referred to as coronary occlusion.
6. Unstable Angina
Unstable angina is the least dangerous type of heart attack, but that does not mean that it is not an emergency and should be taken for granted. During an unstable angina attack, the blood supply to the heart muscles is restricted, but no permanent damage occurs. The heart muscle in an unstable angina is still preserved.
7. Silent Heart Attacks
One of the most surprising attacks that can take place is a silent heart attack. While most heart attacks show signs and symptoms before they strike, a silent heart attack does not. It will take you by surprise because it has no or very few symptoms to show. Though you may not feel any severe symptoms, you should not adopt this heart attack lightly as it can still cause some permanent damage to your heart muscle.
As a matter of fact, silent heart attacks may be more dangerous compared to others because of their quiet nature. As what they always say, enemies who strike unknowingly usually win the battle. Therefore, you really need to be vigilant of this heart attack to save your life.
Heart Attack vs. Cardiac Arrest
The terms heart attack and cardiac arrest are being used interchangeably by many people. However, it is important to note that they are two different things. In a cardiac arrest, the person’s heart has stop beating. In a heart attack, a person’s heart still beats. While a heart attack may result in cardiac arrest, cardiac arrest may occur on its own. This means that cardiac arrest may occur even if there is no blockage in the artery or restriction of blood flow to the heart.
Despite their differences, treatments for both types of heart attacks are time bounded. The faster you initiate prompt and proper treatment, the likelihood the patient survives.