KEEP A HEALTHY HEART BEATDr Suhaib Ashraf Bhat
A heart attack occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked. The blockage is most often a build up of fat, cholesterol and other substances, which form a plaque in the arteries that feed the heart (coronary arteries).
Common heart attack signs and symptoms include:
Pressure, tightness, pain, or a squeezing or aching sensation in your chest or arms that may spread to your neck, jaw or backNausea, indigestion, heartburn or abdominal painShortness of breathCold sweatFatigueLight headedness or sudden dizziness.
Not all people who have heart attacks have the same symptoms or have the same severity of symptoms. Some people have mild pain; others have more severe pain. Some people have no symptoms. For others, the first sign may be sudden cardiac arrest. However, the more signs and symptoms you have, the greater the chance you’re having a heart attack.
Some heart attacks strike suddenly, but many people have warning signs and symptoms hours, days or weeks in advance. The earliest warning might be recurrent chest pain or pressure (angina) that’s triggered by activity and relieved by rest. Angina is caused by a temporary decrease in blood flow to the heart.
Although the risk of heart attack (myocardial infarction, or MI) in young people is relatively low, between 4% and 10% of heart attacks occur in those under 45. For some, the same lifestyle factors known to contribute to MI in people of all ages, such as diabetes, obesity, smoking, and being sedentary, often are at least partially involved. At the same time, there are a handful of lesser-known risk factors for MI that are associated with heart attacks experienced by young people. If you’re “too young” to have a heart attack, the chances you’ll have one are extremely low. Even so, it can’t hurt to know about the few risk factors that apply to younger people, as well as any measures that can be taken to help prevent an MI.
The overall risk factors for a heart attack are well known, but bear repeating, given that some that once applied mostly to older people are increasingly applicable to the young.
In particular, type 2 diabetes—which often results from poor diet, inactivity, and being overweight or obese and hypertension (high blood pressure) are increasingly associated with early heart attack risk.
In a 2018 review of more than 28,000 people hospitalized for a heart attack between 1995 to 2014, 30% were between 35 to 54 (considered young for the purpose of the study). What’s more, the prevalence of hypertension and diabetes has increased in this younger group. These conditions were observed more often in women than in men.3
If you’re worried about exercising too much, that’s a concern you can generally rule out. There have been a few reports that extreme endurance exercise may lead to the development of scar tissue in the heart, even in young people. However, doctors don’t know yet exactly what the scarring (fibrosis) means, and there is currently no significant data to suggest it can cause a cardiac event.
Furthermore, heart attacks are not a common cause of sudden cardiac death in young people. Overall, there are many more studies that show exercise prolongs life and reduces the risk of cardiac issues.
A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, can be fatal, but treatment has improved dramatically over the years.The heart senses emotional information five to seven seconds before it happens, while the brain senses it three to five seconds beforehand. So not only are emotions important contributors to our output of thoughts, but they may be one of the best ways to influence and create a change in what and how we think.
In 1974, the French researchers Gahery and Vigier, stimulated the vagus nerve (which carries signals from heart to the brain) in cats and found that the heart and nervous system were not simply following the brain’s directions.
In 1983, the heart was reclassified as an endocrine gland when a new hormone called atrial natriuretic factor (ANF), which affects blood vessels, kidneys, adrenal glands and regulatory regions in the brain, was found to be being produced by the heart.
Dr. J. Andrew Armour discovered the heart also contains a cell type known as intrinsic cardiac adrenergic (ICA), which synthesizes and releases neurotransmitters once thought to be produced only by neurons in the brain and nerve ganglia.
The heart starts beating in an unborn fetus before the brain has been formed, a process scientist’s call “autorhythmic.”
Dr. Armour introduced the concept of a functional “heart brain” in 1991. Considered an independent entity, the heart’s brain is composed of an elaborate network of neurons, support cells and neurotransmitters which enables it to process information, learn, remember and produce feelings of the heart and then transmit this information from one cell to another.
“We observed the heart was acting as though it had a mind of its own and was profoundly affecting perception, intelligence and awareness,” explained McCraty.
According to Goleman, it’s a person’s EQ (Emotional Quotient) that enables them to succeed in life as much or more than their IQ (Intelligence Quotient).
During the ‘60s and ’70s pioneer physiologists John and Beatrice Lacey conducted research that showed that the heart actually communicates with the brain in ways that greatly affect how we perceive and react to the world around us.
Neurologist Antonio Damasio stresses the rationality of emotion in his book Descartes’ Error, where he emphasizes the importance of emotions in decision-making. He points out that patients with brain damage in the areas of the brain that integrate the emotional and cognitive systems can no longer effectively function in the day-to-day world, even though their mental abilities are perfectly normal.So have they not travelled through the earth and have hearts by which to reason and ears by which to hear? For indeed, it is not eyes that are blinded but blinded are the hearts which are within the breasts. [Quran, 22:46]
Hearts are the main source of reasoning. Here, rationality has been associated with it, since no organ works if the heart doesn’t.
So you see those in whose hearts is disease hastening into [association with] them, saying . . . [Quran, 5:52]
Almost everywhere, feelings precede thinking. What you feel is what you say usually. It all starts from the root, out until the fruit. Is it really think before you speak, or rather feel before you do?
The Day when there will not benefit [anyone] wealth or children. But only one who comes to Allah with a sound heart. [Quran,26:88-89]
You have a damaged heart and it makes a lot of difference. So don’t take this half-heartedly!
Then do they not reflect upon the Quran, or are there locks upon [their] hearts? [Quran,47:24]
This implies that one can’t reflect if one’s heart is locked. Perhaps we should try to think with an open heart instead of an open mind, because if the heart is open eventually the mind will open, too, because thinking sprouts from the heart.
And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favour of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favour, brothers. [Quran, 3:103]
Great minds think alike? How about this: Great hearts bond alike.
The prevention of heart disease in young people means taking the same measures recommended for older adults: following a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and routine medical check-ups, achieving weight control, and smoking cessation. However, there is growing concern that the message isn’t reaching younger age groups.
Heart abnormalities are a risk factor for sudden cardiac death and heart attack in young people. Two such conditions are:
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an inherited condition characterized by enlargement of heart muscle cells that causes the walls of the ventricles to thicken. It is currently believed to be the most common cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes, though other conditions can also cause a heart attack in this population.
Kawasaki disease, a rare childhood disorder, causes acute inflammation of blood vessels. When coronary arteries are affected, the heart may be deprived of oxygen-rich blood, leading to tachycardia (an abnormally rapid heart rate), cardiac inflammation, and heart failure.
May Allah give shifa to all those suffering from heart diseases.