What is an angina attack?
Angina is a lack of blood and therefore oxygen to the heart muscle that does not cause damage. It may be a warning of a future heart attack.
What exactly is the difference between an angina attack and a heart attack?
In angina there is no death of the heart muscle tissue. It is reversible. There is enough blockage to cause pain, but not enough blockage to cause death of the muscle. Often angina, ie chest pain, is a warning signal for a possible heart attack.
What is the difference between a heart attack and congestive heart failure?
Congestive heart failure is an inadequate pumping of the heart. It may be caused by the damage that occurs in a heart attack, but it may also have other causes such as infection of the heart muscle.
Can congestive heart failure develop simply from age?
Yes, as muscles weaken with age.
What are heart arteries?
The coronary arteries are direct branches of the ascending aorta (the major blood vessel arising from the heart. There are 2 major arteries, the right and the left coronary artery. The left one branches into the left anterior descending artery (also known as LAD which is the most frequently occluded vessel in a heart attack) and the circumflex. The circumflex forms a connection with the right coronary artery. The right coronary artery gives rise to 3 branches, the anterior right atrial branch which goes to the sinoatrial node (the natural pacer of the heart), the marginal artery and the posterior descending branch. See this site for diagrams.
Does blood get to the areas of the heart in any other way besides arteries?
Thesbian veins are small and fairly insignificant vessels that empty directly into the left chamber of the heart.
Are there other ways arteries get blocked besides clogging from plaque?
How can that happen to an artery?
This happens if there is a tear in the artery.
Who would be at risk for this?
This may especially occur in young women post partum, after the birth of the baby.
What can be done to prevent this from happening?
How is stress related to heart attacks?
Stress may increase the heart rate and blood pressure which increase the demand on the heart muscles.
What does genetics or family history have to do with heart attacks?
The risk factors such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure may be inherited, but there may be other factors which have not yet been identified.
What are collaterals?
Collaterals are arteries that develop spontaneously in response to an existing blockage as natural bypasses in the heart to help improve blood flow to the heart muscles. Exercising can help improve the development of collaterals.
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