There are many reasons for a heart attack to occur. A heart attack occurs when the oxygenated blood cannot pass to and from the heart, depriving the heart of oxygen, thus diminishing the ability of the heart muscle to pump blood to the other parts of the body. This happens when a plaque build-up, usually consisting of fats, cholesterol, and fibrin, forms a clot and blocks the major arteries and the blood vessels. When the heart is deprived of the required amount of oxygen and nutrients, a person suffers from a heart attack.
Coronary Heart Disease
The most common reason for someone to suffer a heart attack is coronary heart disease. The coronary arteries are responsible for supplying the heart muscle with oxygenated blood. If a person has coronary heart disease or coronary artery disease, there is a plaque build-up of waxy substances inside the coronary arteries. When this condition occurs within the arteries, the person is suffering from a disease called atherosclerosis. The plaque build-up does not happen overnight. Instead, these waxy substances form a blockage over a couple of years.
After some time, one area of the plaque build-up will rupture inside the affected artery. When this happens, it causes blood to clot and form on the surface of the plaque build-up. The blood clot will continue to grow over time, and once it gets to a large enough size, it can severely prevent, or even completely block, the flow of blood to and from the affected coronary artery. If the blockage is not removed or destroyed immediately as possible, the cardiac muscle that the affected artery is responsible for will begin to die. The healthy heart tissues will be replaced with scar tissues. This type of damage to the heart may not be noticeable at once, but it may cause long-lasting and severe medical problems.
Coronary Artery Spasm
Another of the many reasons for heart attack is coronary artery spasm. This type of ailment, while less occurring, is a serious medical condition. Coronary artery spasm occurs when the person suffers from a severe spasm or tightening of any coronary artery. The spasms will cause the flow of blood to the artery to be cut off. Severe tightening or artery spasms can happen even in arteries that are not affected by atherosclerosis.
These reasons for heart attack are usually associated with taking substances such as cocaine and other drugs. It can also be related to pain or severe emotional stress. Coronary artery spasm can also result from a person being exposed to extremely cold temperatures. Cigarette smoking can also cause coronary artery spasm, leading a person to suffer from a heart attack.
Hypertension or High Blood Pressure
Hypertension or high blood pressure is one of the reasons for heart attack. A person who suffers from hypertension is at a higher risk of having a heart attack and has an increased risk for different heart diseases and strokes. People who are obese, overweight, smokers, and those who have high blood cholesterol levels, are at greater risk of suffering from strokes, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular diseases. Blood pressure varies from person to person, age to age, and case to case. A heart attack may be associated with other factors. Still, it is better not to have it in conjunction with other risk factors such as obesity, smoking, and high blood cholesterol levels.
High Blood Cholesterol Levels
Another of the many reasons for heart attack is having high blood cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a substance that is similar to fat and is contained within the blood. Cholesterol can be found in all cells of the body. The liver is responsible for producing the cholesterol in a person’s body to produce specific types of hormones and cell membranes. The excess cholesterol found in a person’s body is obtained through eating fatty foods such as dairy products, eggs, and meats.
Foods that contain saturated fat are the source of the extra cholesterol in the body. These food types include milk products consisting of butterfat, tropical oils including coconut oil, and fat contained in red meats. If a person takes in too much LDL or low-density lipoprotein, this causes plaque build-up to form on the walls of the arteries. This condition is called atherosclerosis. When plaque build-up due to high levels of bad cholesterol forms a blockage in the arteries, the person is at a greater risk of suffering from a heart attack.
Diabetes is another of the main reasons for heart attack. This is especially true among patients afflicted with Type II diabetes or the adult-onset type of diabetes. Non-insulin-dependent diabetes is common to certain ethnic and racial groups, including Hispanics, African Americans, Pacific Islanders, Asians, and Native Americans. The American Heart Association stated that roughly 65% of all diabetes deaths are caused by cardiovascular diseases that often result in a heart attack. If you have diabetes, it is recommended that you seek medical treatment as soon as possible to be in good control of your blood sugar levels and reduce your risks of having a heart attack.
The history of VIOXX and heart attacks
Vioxx Heart Attack is caused by the drug called “Vioxx.” It is a tablet marketed by the company MERK. Its pharmacological name is known as “Rofecoxib.” Rofecoxib belongs to NSAID (Non-steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs) group.
Other famous NSAID’s are:
- Acetaminophen (Paracetamol)
- Ibuprofen (Brufen)
- Mefinamic acid (Ponstel)
- Acetylsalicylic acid (Asprin)
- Methyl salicylate (Oil of wintergreen)
- Diclofenac (Voltarol)
- Indomethacin (indometacin)
These drugs acting by inhibiting Cox-1 and Cox-2 enzymes
COX-Cyclo-oxygenase (Prostaglandin synthase)
Cox-1 enzyme protects the mucous lining of the stomach. By inhibiting the Cox-1 enzyme, NSAID reduces the production of prostaglandins, which is a pain-producing factor.
But inhibition of the Cox-1 enzyme causes various gastrointestinal problems like:
- Epigastric(upper abdominal) Distress
- Gastric ulcer
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
Because of these side effects, the newer generation of NSAID’s is found:
- Celecoxib (celebrax)
- Valdecoxib (Bextra)
- Roficoxib (Vioxx)
These newer drugs are acting against the Cox-2 enzyme only and thereby reducing Gastrointestinal side effects.
Vioxx was introduced by MERK and approved by the FDA(Food and Drug Administration of USA) in May 1999
Initially, it was used for the treatment of:
- Acute pain in adult patients
- Pain during menstrual period
- Severe Headache
Vioxx was concluded as a less risky tablet than other NSAID tablets. Vioxx was then recommended for Rheumatoid arthritis(It is a disorder involving pain in multiple joints of the body) Vioxx was selling for more than 2.5 billion dollars per year.
But in 2004 MERK company came voluntarily about the study of Vioxx.MERK submitted VIGOR(Vioxx gastrointestinal outcome research and APPROVestudy.
Both studies gave the conclusion of developing coronary heart disease in long-term use.
The people using Vioxx who came without heart attack symptoms were found to have lesions and thrombus(blood clot) in the coronary vessels.
Those people found to have lesions went for Vioxx heart attack lawsuit to get compensation.
More than 20,000 were died due to heart attacks who were using VIOXX.
Finally, MERK voluntarily stopped marketing Vioxx in Sep 2004.
The newer NSAID’s Etoricoxib and Lumiracoxib are under clinical trials to avoid the complication of causing a heart attack.
Cocaine and heart attack
Cocaine heart attack is one of the commonest causes of death of young people in the united states of America.
The cause of cocaine-induced heart attack is severe blood vessels constriction due to the administration of cocaine. Cocaine narrows all the blood vessels of the body, including the coronary arteries those supply blood to the heart. The narrowing of the coronary arteries causes loss of blood supply to the heart muscle, severe chest pain and sudden death.
Apart from the heart attack, the other risk factors of cocaine are:
- Sudden death due to respiratory depression
- Stroke due to improper perfusion of brain blood vessels
- Sudden Breathlessness
- Tachycardia (increased heart rate)
- Cardiac arrhythmias (Irregular function of the heart)
- Liver necrosis
- Gynecomastia (breast in males)
In females, it causes:
- Menstrual cycle disturbance
- Amenorrhea(cessation of the menstrual cycle)
Cocaine is taken in various routes like intravenously (through veins), orally(through the mouth), intranasally (through the nose) and inhalation by smoking.
Cocaine is used mostly by self-administration. It is used with heroin to increase the effect the cocaine. Both simultaneous administration of cocaine and heroin is called “speedballing.” Cocaine is also taken with alcohol to increase the euphoric effect.
Addicts use cocaine since it gives relief from stress. The effect takes place within 3 to 5 minutes, and the peak level is perceived in 15 to 20mnts.
Is cocaine heart attack preventable?
Yes, cocaine heart attack should be prevented by strictly prohibiting the availability of the drug with proper rehabilitation measurements to the victims. However, since cocaine is affordable for ordinary salaried people, the prevalence of cocaine abuse is very high in the united states of America. Therefore, awareness of the dangers of cocaine should be taught to young people by implementing health education programs.
Disclaimer: This Website is for information purposes only. You should consult your physician for correct diagnosis and treatment.