|What is Heart-attack?
Heart attack or Cardiac arrest is when suddenly, the heart stops functioning.
|What is the most common cause of heart-attack in the elderly?
Blood flows through 3 blood vessels enabling the heart to function normally. As
one grows old, the blood vessels constrict. Fat is also deposited in them. For these
reasons the blood flow is obstructed, resulting in heart attack.
|Will there be typical symptoms to know that a person has had a
In the elderly, heart attack does not necessarily present itself in a typical manner.
The typical symptoms are:
- Pain in the chest with or without the pain radiating to the left shoulder and arm
- Associated sweating.
|The atypical symptoms are:
- Acute confusion
- or even abdominal pain or fatigue and exhaustion.
|What is "Silent Heart Attack"? Why do old people have a
"Silent Heart Attack" is when a person has a heart attack but feels no pain or
other symptoms, and so does not even realise that he or she has had an attack. The reasons
In the elderly the nerves are sometimes weak and ineffective. So the person is less
sensitive to pain of the heart attack. Diabetic neuropathy may also cause the same effect.
The elderly who are suffering from other problems may have got used to pain and
discomfort, and sometimes ignore the pain of an attack.
|What are the predisposing factors of a heart attack?
The following factors predispose to a heart attack.
|What can one do to avoid a Heart Attack?
As would be obvious, one has to keep the above factors under check. While it is not
possible to do anything about the genetic factors, we can do so much to avoid a heart
- Regular physical exercise or yoga and Meditation
- Losing excess weight
- Minimising Stress by altering our life style
- QUITTING the habit of Smoking (Will power is all you need)
- Keeping Blood Pressure and Diabetes under control.
|If a person is suspected to have had a heart attack what should
be done? What is the general method of treatment?
Immediate medical advice should be sought once a person is suspected to have had a heart
attack. The physician will do a thorough clinical examination and also request some
investigations such as ECG, X-Ray Chest, Blood sugar, cholesterol and cardiac enymes, and
sometimes an echocardiograph. Medicines may be given to control the pain, and to increase
the blood circulation to the heart. Complications would also be treated.
Oxygen, light diet, and sedation would be given according to the individual needs of the
Prolonged bed rest is to be avoided in the elderly because it will lead to complications
such as chest infection, pressure sores, dehydration, hypotension, loss of balance and
depression. Early ambulation is important in the treatment of elderly with heart attack.
But ofcourse, one should bear in mind that all these will vary according the individual
needs of a patient.
|What is Heart Failure?
Heart Failure is the condition where the heart ceases to function properly due to
heart diseases like hypertension, heart attack, diseases of the heart valves and severe
|Why does it occur? What are the symptoms?
Heart failure occurs because of heart diseases like hypertension, heart attack, diseases
of the valves of the heart and severe anaemia.
The symptoms depend on whether the right side or the left side of the heart is failing.
But usual symptoms are breathlessness on exertion, and breathlessness at night.
|Does heart failure require immediate treatment?
Acute left heart failure is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention.
The difficulty in breathing should be relieved quickly. Left sided failure requires
diurectics. Generally the underlying factors causing the failure should be treated and
managed. Patients should be mobilized gradually, walking only a few metres at first and
then gradually increasing it till they are ambulant in about 2 weeks.