Heart Attack - We All Know the Term, but What Exactly is a Heart Attack?

BY Stephen Morgan

It has possibly been described as THE disease of the 20th Century and is certainly the one of the Century’s biggest killers but what exactly is Heart Disease and what exactly is a Heart Attack?

As they say, what is in a name? Well in this case the most common terminology in use is as follows. Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is (as the name suggests) the Disease of the Coronary Arteries. Ischaemic Heart Disease or IHD is a narrowing of the blood vessels resulting in Ischaemia, which is a lack of blood supply to the Heart Muscle.

MI, Myocardial Infarction is the term that describes the death of an area of Heart Muscle as a result of a blockage in the blood supply. Myocardial Infarction as a term has become synonymous with the term Heart Attack.

We use the term Coronary to refer to the Coronary Arteries, the small blood vessels that keep the muscle of the Heart supplied with the nutrients, especially the oxygen that enable it to keep working properly.

Changes in the Coronary Arteries take place over the years and sediments, fatty deposits etc can build up in them and these lead to Angina, Heart attacks and sudden death.

Coronary Heart Disease has been documented as being the No 1 cause of death in the United Kingdom. Most of us at some time recon that we either know or have known someone who has suffered from a Heart Attack but according to statistics that has not always been the case.

This being so , what exactly has happened to either cause this increase in the incidence of Heart Attacks or has acted as an agent to assist the rise in the number of Heart Attacks?

In a bizarre way one of the best descriptions of the cause of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) and Heart Attacks is that it is a “disease caused by affluence”. It is becoming more and more common in the more developed countries and ones where the stress factor (one of the major causes of CHD) is a common factor.

Of the developed Countries where CHD is becoming more common, Western Europe, North America and Australasia are the leading territories in the CHD League. The link with affluence does seem to have some credence in that it has been chronicled that migrants moving to these countries from less developed territories or countries are showing an alarming increase in the incidence of CHD once they arrive or have spent some time in these more well developed countries.

It really does seem that in this as in most aspects of life that there is truly a price to pay for everything and in this it seems that some of us are paying with our lives.

The really sad aspect of this is that it doesn’t really have to be this way. CHD is preventable and can be treated if not eradicated.

Stephen Morgan launched the site Heart Attacks (http://www.heartattacks.be) as a result of being diagnosed with acute High Blood Pressure and is also the founder of the Living with High Blood Pressure Net (http://www.livingwithhighbloodpressure.net). He also publishes information on Heart Disease at http://www.highbloodpressure.name.

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