Heart Attack

Heart Attack Specialist
Heart attacks are serious medical events that can have devastating consequences. At South Palm Cardiovascular Associates, Dr. Andres Ruiz provides heart attack prevention strategies for patients in Delray Beach, Boynton Beach and Boca Raton, FL, as well as treatment for patients recovering from heart attacks.

Heart Attack Q & A

Andres Ruiz, MD, FACC

What causes heart attacks?

Like any other organ, the heart depends on a steady supply of oxygen-rich blood to keep it functioning properly. If the blood supply is impeded or interrupted, the heart sends out “warning signals” and spasms that indicate it’s in trouble. These warning signals constitute a heart attack. Heart attacks that cause the heart to suddenly stop beating normally are sometimes referred to as cardiac arrest. Most heart attacks are caused by blocked or narrowed arteries that can’t supply the heart with a normal supply of blood. Sometimes, a heart attack can be caused by spasms in the arteries, a condition known as Prinzmetal angina.

What are the symptoms of a heart attack?

Heart attacks can cause different symptoms in different people and symptoms can also vary between men and women. Some of the more common symptoms include:

  • chest pain

  • pressure or “squeezing” in the chest

  • pain in the back, belly, neck, shoulder or jaw

  • pain radiating down the left arm

  • profuse sweating

  • faintness or dizziness

  • nausea or vomiting

  • shortness of breath

  • extreme fatigue

What risk factors are associated with heart attacks?

Studies have linked several factors with an increased risk for heart attack, including:

  • high blood pressure

  • high cholesterol

  • obesity or being overweight

  • smoking

  • diabetes

  • poor nutrition

  • leading a sedentary lifestyle

  • prior history of heart attack

  • family history of heart problems

  • personal history of sleep apnea

  • stress, especially chronic stress

  • older age

Can heart attacks be prevented?

The best way to prevent a heart attack is to schedule an office visit with a cardiologist to determine which risk factors are present and make lifestyle changes when possible to decrease those risk factors. Having routine screenings for blood pressure and cholesterol levels, undergoing a baseline heart evaluation at age 40 (or sooner for those with risk factors), losing excess weight, quitting smoking and being more physically active can all help decrease the risk of heart attacks. It’s also very important to schedule an office visit if any unusual symptoms like chest pain, palpitations or shortness of breath are noted.

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