Acute coronary syndrome is a combination of medical conditions that are associated with the abrupt and reduced flow of blood to the heart. An example of such a condition is myocardial infarction also known as a heart attack.
A heart attack usually results in damaged and destroyed cells. However, a decrease in the flow of blood to the heart affects the functioning of the heart. Acute coronary syndrome is a sign of a high risk of a heart attack.
Acute coronary syndrome comes with severe discomfort or pain in the chest. Usually, the acute coronary syndrome is a medical emergency that needs urgent diagnosis and care. Treatment given for acute coronary syndrome is focused on improving the flow of blood to the heart, treating complications that may arise, and preventing problems in the future.
Acute coronary syndrome is caused by the accumulation of fatty acids in one or more walls of the coronary artery. This buildup of fatty acids causes blockage of the coronary artery. The blockage may be instant or sudden in addition to being seasonal.
The coronary artery delivers nutrients and oxygen to the muscles of the heart. Muscles found in the heart require a steady and consistent supply of blood that is oxygenated for them to function. Most cases of a blocked coronary artery are a result of blood clots.
The traditional types of acute coronary syndrome are unstable angina, non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction, and ST-elevation MI. The classification of acute coronary syndrome patients is mostly traditional mainly because the different types of acute coronary syndrome require different clinical management.
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Common types of the acute coronary syndrome are heart attacks and angina. The acute coronary syndrome can be described as a combination of three types of coronary artery disease including:
A blocked coronary artery translates to a slow supply of oxygen to heart muscles causing the death of cells in the heart muscles. Lack of supply of blood to any tissue of the body is known as ischemia. Death of cells in the heart muscles may cause myocardial infarction or a heart attack.
Cells don’t always die. Sometimes they are damaged due to a lack of enough supply of oxygen. This prevents heart muscles from functioning efficiently resulting in temporary or permanent consequences.
When an acute coronary syndrome is not fatal it is known as unstable angina. The type of acute coronary syndrome is determined by where the blockage happens, the duration of the blocked blood flow, and the extent of damage caused.
Accurate classification of the acute coronary syndrome is important especially when it comes to picking the correct treatment. The acute coronary syndrome can be classified by doctors based on:
Symptoms of the acute coronary syndrome include:
Symptoms of the acute coronary syndrome are serious. A person experiencing the symptoms mentioned above should seek emergency medical care. Chest pain associated with coronary syndrome is sudden. They come without a warning just like those of a heart attack.
Chest pain that is usually unpredictable and does not improve even after resting can be a symptom of unstable angina. The most common symptom of acute coronary syndrome is chest pains. However, it is important to note that the signs and symptoms differ depending on sex, age, and the existence of other medical conditions.
The common cause for the acute coronary syndrome is the buildup of fat deposits on and in the walls of coronary arteries. Coronary arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood with nutrients and oxygen to the muscles of the heart.
When these fat deposits split or rupture, they form a blood clot. These blood clots hinder the flow of blood to the muscles of the heart. Reduced supply of oxygen results in the death of cells in the heart muscles.
This results in damage to the heart muscles and a possible heart attack. Cells may not always die. However, reduced oxygen supply still interferes with the functioning of the heart muscles.
Obesity and smoking are some of the key risk factors associated with the acute coronary syndrome. Other risk factors are:
During diagnosis, a doctor will want to know your symptoms and medical history. In addition, several tests need to be performed. Some of the tests done in the diagnosis of the acute coronary syndrome are:
In combination with the signs and symptoms, information obtained from these tests is used by doctors to diagnose acute coronary syndrome. In addition, doctors can determine how the syndrome will be classified whether as unstable angina or as a heart attack.
Further tests can be done to weigh the need for additional treatment or if there are additional heart problems. In some cases, doctors may need the patient to wear a Holter monitor that is
used to record the electrical activity of the heart for 24 hours.
Once the diagnosis is made, treatment is ordered immediately. Short-term goals for the treatment of acute coronary syndrome are to improve the flow of blood to restore heart function and relieve pain.
Long-term goals for the treatment of acute coronary syndrome are to manage the risk factors, reduce the risk of a heart attack, and improve the overall functioning of the heart. Treatment for acute coronary syndrome includes a combination of surgeries and medications.
Medications used in the treatment of acute coronary syndrome are:
Once a person with symptoms of acute coronary syndrome calls the emergency services, they are given aspirin. If aspirin does not stop the problem to restore proper blood flow, stenting and angioplasty and coronary bypass surgery will be necessary.
Some of the recommended lifestyle changes include:
With a combination of the right medication and lifestyle changes, it is very much possible to prevent acute coronary syndrome. The two also go a long way to treat acute coronary syndrome and to help people resume their normal lives.
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