Tag Archives: Heart Attacks

How Common Are Heart Attacks?

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As attending physician, Dr. Zachary Lutsky cares for people in need of emergent medical attention through several Emergency Departments in Los Angeles. Emergency physicians like Dr. Zachary Lutsky often save patients facing common life or death cardiac events.

A heart attack occurs when the body is no longer able to provide the heart muscle adequate blood to sustain its function. When deprived of blood, muscle cells begin to die, and if too many die, then the heart can no longer pump blood throughout the body, leading to death.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States heart attacks occur frequently, about once every 40 seconds. In a 12-month period, there are nearly 800,000 heart attack victims in America. Of those attacks, 580,000 happen in patients who have not had a heart attack before, and about 200,000 happen to people who’ve suffered a heart attack in the past.

Not all heart attacks are deadly. In fact, of the people who have a heart attack each year, only about 14 percent pass away as a result. It’s important if a person exhibits heart attack symptoms that emergency services are called immediately, as prompt medical intervention can save the person’s life.

Heart attacks manifest classic symptoms like pain radiating from the chest into the back, jaw, and neck. During a heart attack, people may also experience shortness of breath and nausea, among other symptoms.

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Commonly Overlooked Symptoms of Heart Attacks

Heart Attacks
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A board certified emergency medicine physician, Zachary Lutsky received his MD from RFU/Chicago Medical School more than 15 years ago. Since then he has served as an attending physician at such institutions as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Santa Clara Valley Medical. Over the course of his career, Dr. Zachary Lutsky has dealt with such conditions as heart attacks.

Most people are familiar with the typical symptoms of a heart attack, such as pain in the arms and chest discomfort. However, not every heart attack victim experiences pain in these areas. In fact, some individuals have pain or aches in other areas of the body, including the neck, stomach, or jaw. This pain often appears after exercise and will disappear as someone rests, thus leading many people to believe the pain is exercise-related.

Beyond pain, individuals struggling with a heart-related problem may experience fatigue that is unrelated to medicines or illnesses. When heart-related, fatigue is often described as a general weakness in the body that is associated with subtle symptoms, including shortness of breath. Since these associated symptoms are often minimal, individuals often overlook them.

Another common symptom of heart attack that gets overlooked, particularly in women, is indigestion. While indigestion and other stomach issues are a common occurrence for some, they may also precede a heart attack. For this reason, individuals should always contact their doctor whenever they have any unexplained indigestion.

Heart Attacks – Causes and Risk Factors

Zachary Lutsky
Zachary Lutsky

An experienced emergency physician, Dr. Zachary Lutsky is trained to provide lifesaving care to patients undergoing heart attacks and other urgent health events, as he did during his service at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. In preparation for his career, Dr. Zachary Lutsky underwent his emergency medicine residency at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in nearby Torrance.

A heart attack occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood supplied by the coronary arteries is blocked or reduced, imperiling heart function. If enough damage occurs, the heart goes into arrest, which can quickly lead to death. Patients with coronary artery disease have a buildup on the artery wall called plaque, made up of fat, proteins and other material. When the plaque cracks, the body sends blood-clotting factors to the site. The resulting clot can interrupt blood flow to the heart, giving rise to a heart attack. Coronary artery spasms, a less common cause,also interrupt blood flow to the heart.

Some risk factors for heart attack include uncontrollable issues like age and family history. However, many other factors are related to lifestyle and can be addressed by changes in behavior, like quitting smoking, adopting a healthier diet, and exercising.