• What You Should Know About STEMI Heart Attacks

    ST-elevation myocardial infarction – or STEMI – heart attacks are a serious cardiac emergency. Although all heart attacks require immediate treatment in a heart hospital ER, STEMI heart attacks must be treated more urgently to reduce damage to heart tissue. It is important to go to a heart hospital that is a designated STEMI receiving center and that meets the national guidelines for providing STEMI treatment in 90 minutes or less for the best patient outcomes.

    What Is a STEMI Heart Attack?

    STEMI heart attacks occur when there is a complete blockage of a coronary artery. Although all heart attacks are caused by blockages, non-STEMI heart attacks typically only involve partial blockages. In the heart hospital, doctors differentiate heart attacks using an electrocardiogram (ECG) to look for abnormalities in the heart’s electrical activity. During STEMI heart attacks, ECGs indicate ST-elevation. When this result is present, you will be diagnosed with a STEMI heart attack and treated accordingly.

    What Are the Symptoms?

    The symptoms of STEMI and non-STEMI heart attacks are similar. They include chest pain and pressure, fatigue, shortness of breath, and nausea. Patients may also experience cold sweats and pain in the jaw, neck, back, and one or both arms. It is not usually possible to differentiate between STEMI and non-STEMI heart attacks based on symptoms alone. As with all heart attacks, women experiencing STEMI attacks are more likely to have non-chest pain symptoms than men. As this video suggests, all instances of heart attack symptoms should be evaluated quickly.

    How Are STEMI Heart Attacks Treated?

    STEMI heart attack treatment focuses on restoring blood flow to the heart by unblocking the artery. The heart hospital can use a number of treatments to accomplish this goal, including percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), angioplasty and stenting, and clot-busting medications. Coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) is performed in severe cases or when other treatments fail.

    Riverside Community Hospital and our HeartCare Institute was the first designated STEMI receiving center in the county, and we meet the 90-minute STEMI treatment guideline for 100 percent of our patients. If you need a referral to a cardiologist or more information about our heart hospital in Riverside, please call (951) 788-3463.

  • When Are You Most Likely to Suffer a Heart Attack?

    When it comes to predicting heart attacks, many different factors are at play. One of them is timing. Many people are unaware of the time of day during which their risk of needing heart hospital care increases, but knowing when this spike in heart attacks occurs can help you be more vigilant about the symptoms. Here are the facts you need.

    Peak Time for Heart Attacks

    The risk of having a heart attack – or any kind of cardiac emergency – is highest in the last few hours of sleep and into the morning hours. About a 40 percent increase in the risk of having a heart attack occurs between about 6:00 am and noon for most people, with the first three hours after waking being the most dangerous time.

    Reasons for the Increased Risk

    There are two reasons doctors believe the risk of heart attacks increases so dramatically during this time. One is blood vessel restriction. A heart attack occurs when blood flow is reduced to the heart, causing an imbalance in the need and availability of oxygen. When you sleep, blood vessel sizes decrease for a few reasons, including the fact that platelets are at their most adhesive at this time of day because the activity of the endogenous system is reduced. This allows platelets to form thrombi that block the blood vessels. At the same time, your body’s demands for oxygen increase suddenly and dramatically when you wake, so your heart needs more oxygen at a time when your body is least equipped to deal with it. The second is the activity of the autonomic nervous system during REM sleep when you dream. In this last stage of sleep, your heart may beat rapidly in response to your dream, triggering a crisis. For a healthy person, these demands are not dangerous, but if you have heart disease, they can cause a heart attack.

    At Riverside Community Hospital, our emergency room and heart hospital are available 24 hours a day to provide critical care for heart attack patients. When you need a referral to our heart hospital or information about other services at our hospital in Riverside, please call (951) 788-3463.

  • A Look at Heart Attacks in Younger Adults

    If you think heart attacks only happen to the elderly, think again. Young adults can and do have heart attacks every day. For young adults, being aware that a heart attack can happen to them is an important part of ensuring they get the heart hospital care they need. Here are the facts young people need to know about their heart attack risk.

    Heart Attacks and Age

    Typically, the risk of heart attack increases for men after age 45 and after menopause for women – usually around age 55. However, heart hospital doctors are seeing more patients in their 20s and 30s with both heart disease and heart attacks. Because young people often underestimate their chances of having a heart attack, they may delay seeking care, leading to more damage to their hearts that can cause future complications and even loss of life. About 25 men and 10 women per 1,000 between the ages of 35 and 44 have a heart attack or fatal coronary heart disease, according to the American Heart Association.

    Increased Risk Factors

    The reason young people are increasingly vulnerable to heart attacks is that they are experiencing increased risk factors at a younger age. Obesity and weight-related conditions like high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes dramatically boost the risk of having a heart attack. Doctors are seeing these health problems, as well as high cholesterol, in people at a younger age, which helps to explain why heart attacks are happening in this group.

    Cutting Heart Attack Risks

    To reduce their chances of having a heart attack, young adults can discuss their risk factors with their doctors and develop strategies for controlling them. Weight loss, increasing physical activity, quitting smoking, and carefully managing chronic medical conditions can all help. Young adults can also ask their doctors about heart attack symptoms so they can recognize them and seek treatment quickly when they occur.

    At Riverside Community Hospital, our Chest Pain Center delivers fast and accurate diagnoses for the best patient care. Let our heart hospital in Riverside help you take control of your health today. Call (951) 788-3463 and request a referral to one of our heart hospital specialists.

  • Exploring the Unique Heart Attack Symptoms Seen in Women

    Traditionally, the picture of a heart attack was a man experiencing sudden, intense pain that made him clutch his chest and collapse. In recent years, a more accurate understanding of heart attacks has emerged. Most importantly, doctors and patients alike are aware that women are just as likely to have heart attacks as men, which means women are getting faster treatment when they arrive at a heart hospital with symptoms. Another realization that has occurred is that women experience heart attacks differently than men. Being aware of the nature of women’s symptoms, which are often more subtle, is essential since quick treatment improves heart attack outcomes. Here is a look at the some of the symptoms women are likely to have during a heart attack.

    Fatigue

    After a heart attack, many women report having had intense fatigue in the time leading up to their diagnosis. This fatigue may persist for days leading up to the heart attack. Some describe feeling like they had the flu or assuming they had picked up another illness, when in reality, their heart was to blame. If you experience unexplained fatigue, be vigilant about the other symptoms you’re having and consider getting emergency care.

    Pain

    Chest pain and pressure is the most common heart attack symptom in both men and women, but women are more likely to experience pain in other parts of the body as well. During a heart attack, women may have jaw pain, back pain, and pain in one or both arms. This pain may occur with or without chest pain.

    Nausea

    Women are more likely than men to experience nausea during a heart attack. Vomiting is also possible. Rather than nausea, some women feel like they have indigestion. Be alert to your other symptoms if you become nauseated in case your heart is to blame.

    The heart hospital at Riverside Community Hospital offers fast diagnosis and treatment for heart attack patients, from our accredited Chest Pain Center to our inpatient HeartCare Institute. Call us today at (951) 788-3463 to learn more about our services, including heart care, robotic surgery, and bariatric weight loss in Riverside.