Acute Coronary Syndrome

1 What is Acute Coronary Syndrome?

Acute coronary syndrome refers to a range of conditions caused by reduced blood flow to a part of the heart.

Blockage of blood may be complete or partial, and could result in a heart attack or unstable angina.

It is a medical emergency and should be diagnosed and treated as early as possible. Treatment of this syndrome depends on various factors like symptoms, the health condition of the patient, and the signs presented.

Acute coronary syndrome is categorized into different types based on the location of the block, extent of blockage, and the length and time of block.

2 Symptoms

Some of the common symptoms of Acute coronary syndrome include:

  • Chest pain or pressure tightness of the chest
  • Pain that radiates through the left arm or jaw
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sudden sweating

In some cases, other symptoms like abdominal pain, dizziness, and fatigue may also occur.

If not treated early, acute coronary syndrome causes heart attacks.

It is very important to get immediate medical attention, as this may lead to cardiac arrest.

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3 Causes

Accumulation of fatty deposits in the blood vessels is the most common cause of acute coronary syndrome.

These fat deposits, also known as plaques, reduce the lumen of blood vessels and thus the passage of blood through them.

Heart attack or angina results when the heart is not able to pump blood efficiently to different parts of the body. In many cases, the surface of a plaque breaks and stimulates the formation of blood clots within the artery.

Plaque in combination with the blood clot reduces the flow of blood considerably through the vessel. As this happens, it may lead to a heart attack.

Some other not-so-common conditions may also lead to blockage in the blood vessel. This includes:

  • A blood clot from another part of the body moving to the artery, supplying the heart muscle
  • Spasm of a coronary artery due to cocaine use
  • Complication in treatments such as heart surgery
  • Other problems regarding the heart

4 Making a Diagnosis

Making diagnosis of Acute coronary syndrome is done by several tests.

An electrocardiograph helps to trace the pattern of how the heart is working and then distinguishes other forms of chest pain from acute coronary syndrome.

Blood tests are used to check the level of troponin, the chemical released from the damaged heart muscle.

Higher levels of troponin in the blood indicates a heart attack, while the levels remain unchanged in unstable angina.

Other tests are also recommended such as:

  • Echocardiogram – this test is used to identify and assess the damage done by a heart attack
  • Nuclear scan – this helps to check the blood flow to the muscles of the heart
  • CT angiogram – this test identifies blockage in the arteries
  • Stress test – this test measures the response of blood vessels that are strained

5 Treatment

Treatment of acute coronary syndrome depends on the symptoms and the extent of blockage in the arteries. Medications are often prescribed to improve the blockage in the blood vessels.

Some of the medications are:

  • Aspirin – this drug helps to reduce blood clots within the blood vessels and improve blood flow
  • Thrombolytics – this medication helps in dissolving blood clots
  • Nitroglycerin – this helps to widen blood vessels and improve blood flow
  • Beta blockers – these decrease blood pressure and increase blood flow
  • Calcium channel blockers – these are used to relax heart muscles and allow more blood flow

Surgery is recommended if the patient does not respond to medications.

Surgical treatments

Balloon angioplasty helps to widen the blocked artery.

A stent left in the artery helps to keep it open for free flow of blood.

Bypass surgery creates another route for the passage of blood with the block.

6 Prevention

A healthy lifestyle is the most ideal way to prevent acute coronary syndrome.

A well-balanced diet, physical exercise, and regular checkups help in preventing fatty deposits in the blood vessels, therefore preventing acute coronary syndrome.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

There are several alternative and homeopathic remedies used for Acute coronary syndrome

Garlic, onion, fish oil and olive oil are considered to be good for heart health.

Omega acids present in flax seeds and nuts help to reduce cholesterol levels and thus prevent acute coronary syndrome.

Fibers present in vegetables and fruits also help to regulate digestion and aids in removing extra cholesterol deposits from the walls of blood vessels.

8 Lifestyle and Coping

There are different ways to adapt your lifestyle in coping with Acute coronary syndrome.

Patients with this acute coronary syndrome may experience fear and anxiety.

Counseling during rehabilitation will help in coping with this condition.

Developing a healthy lifestyle with a good diet and physical exercise are also essential to preventing future damage.

9 Risks and Complications

Low blood pressure, ruptured heart muscles, and pain are the most common complications associated with acute coronary syndrome.

Collection of fluid in the lungs may cause difficulty in breathing.

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