According to early epidemiological statistics, myocardial infarction is more common in the autumn and winter, occurring more frequently on Mondays, during two specific periods in a day – the morning to noon and in the evening. Additionally, the incidence of myocardial infarction is higher in males than females. Furthermore, a 3-year study conducted in Taiwan in 2018 revealed that when the temperature ranges from 12.91°C to 26.36°C, higher temperatures are associated with a lower mortality rate from cardiovascular diseases.
What Is Myocardial Infarction?
Myocardial infarction occurs when the blood vessels that supply nutrients and oxygen to the heart muscle cells become blocked, leading to a disruption of blood flow. When the blood supply to the myocardium is interrupted for over 15-30 minutes, it results in myocardial ischemia and infarction, leading to a reduction in heart function. In severe cases, it can lead to death. Damage to heart function can also result in complications such as malignant arrhythmias and heart failure, making it a major cause of sudden cardiac death.
Pathological process of myocardial infarction:
Risk Factors for Myocardial Infarction
The causes of myocardial infarction are primarily related to risk factors associated with coronary artery atherosclerosis, which can be categorized into congenital and acquired factors.
Genetics, a family history of myocardial infarction, the elderly population, and postmenopausal women (due to a lack of estrogen protection).
Hypertension, hyperlipidemia, hyperglycemia (the three highs), obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption, excessive fatigue, extreme psychological stress, severe insomnia, excessive straining during bowel movements, and a lack of physical activity.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Myocardial Infarction?
Chest Pain on the Left Side:
Most patients experience chest pain resembling angina, feeling of discomfort in the chest as if it’s being pressed by a heavy object (such as heaviness, tightness, etc.), but they cannot pinpoint the exact location of the pain.
During myocardial infarction, it can stimulate the vagus nerve, causing upper abdominal pain and abdominal bloating, among other gastrointestinal symptoms, often leading to misdiagnosis as digestive system disorders like gastroesophageal reflux or acute gastritis.
Sudden dizziness, shortness of breath, cold sweats, a weak but fast pulse, low blood pressure, or sudden loss of consciousness, even shock.
Due to myocardial necrosis, body temperature and white blood cell count rise inexplicably.
Irregular or rapid heartbeat.
Pain Radiating: Chest pain radiates to the shoulders, neck, back, and jaw, etc.
Emergency Self-Rescue Methods for Sudden Myocardial Infarction
For individuals with a history of heart disease, if you experience intolerable chest pain suddenly, consider taking one nitroglycerin tablet (Nitrostat) and immediately call for an ambulance. However, it’s best to consult a pharmacist or physician for guidance on the usage and timing before purchasing the medication.
For those without a history of heart disease, you can consider taking aspirin or drinking a large amount of water to reduce blood clotting speed and promptly notify emergency services. During the wait for the ambulance, minimize any form of physical activity to reduce blood flow to the periphery, and it’s advisable to adopt a semi-recumbent position to allow blood to return to the heart.
Self-Assessment Methods for Myocardial Infarction
Testing Items in the Hospital
✔ Basic Tests
Waist circumference, weight, blood pressure, body fat percentage, chest X-ray, blood lipids (triglycerides and total cholesterol), blood homocysteine, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP)… and more.
✔ Advanced Tests
Echocardiography, 24-hour continuous electrocardiogram, stress electrocardiogram, coronary artery computed tomography angiography, cardiovascular calcium scoring, and more.
Simple Self-Assessment of Vascular Condition in Daily Life
✔ Squeeze Your Fist for 30 Seconds and Observe the Color Change in Your Palm After Opening Your Fist
The palm may initially appear paler due to temporary ischemia, but it should return to its original color within 3 seconds. If the recovery time is longer, it indicates poorer vascular elasticity.
✔ Observe if Multiple Veins Are Visible on the Back of Your Hand, Legs, and Feet
The skin’s blood vessels are distributed between the dermis and subcutaneous tissue. When venous return is obstructed or pressure increases, veins become more prominent. This method is not suitable for cases where vascular prominence is caused by regular physical activity.
✔ Check the Dorsalis Pedis Pulse
After walking a short distance, if you can’t feel the pulsation of the dorsalis pedis pulse, there may be an arterial blockage. The image below shows where to check the dorsalis pedis pulse.
✔ Elevate Your Feet and Observe Skin Color
Elevate your feet at a 45-degree angle with the ground for 2 minutes and observe the color of your leg skin after returning to a normal sitting position. If the color initially appears pale and then becomes flushed, there may be ischemia.
Finally, we hope everyone pays more attention to the disease that silently claims many lives, “myocardial infarction.” Understanding it better can help you avoid dangers more promptly.