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Acute coronary syndrome

  • Overview


    Acute coronary syndrome refers to a group of conditions that occur when there is a sudden decrease in blood flow to the heart. These conditions include unstable angina and a heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction.

    Heart tissue is damaged or destroyed during a heart attack, resulting in cell death. Unstable angina, on the other hand, happens when the blood flow to the heart is reduced but not severe enough to cause a heart attack or cell death. However, it can increase your risk of experiencing a heart attack.

    Symptoms of acute coronary syndrome usually include severe chest pain or discomfort, and it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately. Treatment aims to improve blood flow, manage complications, and prevent future problems.

  • Symptoms


    Acute coronary syndrome symptoms typically manifest abruptly and consist of the following:
    Chest pain or discomfort. This is often described as aching, pressure, tightness or burning. Chest pain also is called angina.
    Pain starts in the chest and spreads to other parts of the body. These areas include the shoulders, arms, upper belly area, back, neck or jaw.
    Nausea or vomiting.
    Shortness of breath, also called dyspnea.
    Sudden, heavy sweating.
    Racing heartbeat.
    Feeling lightheaded or dizzy.
    Unusual fatigue.

    The most frequent indication of a problem is chest pain or discomfort. However, the symptoms can differ extensively based on age, gender, and other medical conditions. If you are a woman, an older adult, or have diabetes, you may experience symptoms without chest pain or discomfort.

  • When to see a doctor


    If you experience chest pain or discomfort, don’t hesitate to seek immediate medical attention. Acute coronary syndrome is a severe condition that requires urgent care. Don’t try to drive yourself to the hospital; call for emergency assistance instead. It’s always better to be safe than sorry about your health. Remember to get a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment as soon as possible.

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  • Causes


    The cause of acute coronary syndrome is the accumulation of fatty deposits, also known as plaque, on the walls of the coronary arteries. These arteries supply blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the heart muscles. If a fatty deposit ruptures, it can cause a blood clot to form and block blood flow to the heart muscles. This lack of oxygen can lead to cell death and damage to the muscle tissue, resulting in a heart attack. If there is no cell death, the condition is called unstable angina, which can still adversely affect the heart muscles.

  • Risk factors


    Acute coronary syndrome shares the same risk factors as other heart diseases. These risk factors include ageing, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, smoking tobacco, insufficient physical activity, unhealthy diet, obesity or being overweight, diabetes, personal or family history of chest pain, heart attacks, or stroke, history of high blood pressure, preeclampsia or diabetes during pregnancy, early menopause, and even COVID-19 infection.

  • Prevention



  • *Please note that the information provided in the article is for reference purposes only. It is essential to consult a doctor before applying any of the suggestions mentioned.

Content Details

Medical info from Mayo Clinic, for reference only. Visit Hoan My for better advice.

Last updated on: 07/08/2023