According to Medical News Today, heart attacks are caused by many factors, including poor dietary habits, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, obesity, sendentarism and chronic stress. Heart attacks are also caused by old age, genetics, high blood pressure and unhealthy gut bacteria. People who live within 328 feet of a major highway are also believed to be at a higher risk for having a heart attack.
It is not uncommon in diabetics and older patients for heart attacks to go unnoticed, notes Medical News Today. Many heart attacks are not diagnosed, and resulting damage to the heart remains untreated, leading to future health complications. In patients who experience symptoms, chest pain is the most common complaint. This pain commonly spreads from the heart region into areas such as the arms, neck, jaw and shoulders. Patients are unable to mitigate the pain by lying down. Additional symptoms of a heart attack include nausea, dizziness, vomiting, anxiety, coughing and shortness of breath.
Doctors are able to use a variety of diagnostic tests to determine if a patient is experiencing a heart attack. These include chest X-rays, electrocardiographs and cardiac enzyme tests, notes Medical News Today. To decrease the risk of heart attacks, is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle by quitting smoking, cutting back on alcohol, eating a healthy diet and remaining physically active.