It was a day like any other when I woke up and went to school but when I came home I just knew something was wrong by just looking at my mother’s eyes. She told me the calamitous news with tears in her eyes. This happened exactly two years ago when my mother got the tragic call from Italy that my father’s only brother had past away from a heart attack the night before with out any signs of heart diseases. This was very hard on my family, especially my father since they were only four years apart and my uncle was only 43 years old. Once I sat down and tried to understand what had happened to my uncle, questions started going through my head: What is a heart attack? What causes a heart attack? How can it be prevented?
I already know that a heart attack can be originated if you are under stress, over weight, or if you are a person of about 45 and above. That’s about all I knew when I first heard that a heart attack had affected a member of my family. Since then I’ve been committed to learn as much as I can and I’m pleased to report that I have.
Basically, I wanted to know as much as possible on my topic, because of the fact that there are chronicle heart disease problems in my family, and I wanted to know if there are any risk factors. If in fact there are, what could I do to prevent
myself, and the other members of my family from getting infected? Could we live a health life without having to think of what could happened? Since my uncle died without any signs of heart disease, what are some common signs?
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With all of these questions I managed to come up with a research question: are there any risk factor for a heart attack, and if so what could someone do to prevent it? After many days of research I was able to form an answer: Yes, there are several risk factors, such as family history of heart attack, smoking, drinking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, lack of physical activity, age, sex, stress, anger, obesity, and diabetes mellitus. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, eating right and exercising can reduce some of these risk factors. Others, such as family history, sex, and age cannot be changed. That is the main reason why it is important to work as much as you can on the simple things that can be reduced.
I worked on my search for about two months and it was definitely a new step for me. Never before have I worked on such a major paper and presumably without my language book I wouldn’t have come this far. I started of my research by forming a research question and then by sharing my research question and topic with a group. This helped me a lot because when I first started I was completely confused and unorganized, but I soon recovered when I started my search journal which to this day I’m writing in every time I work on my research.
Next, I went to a public library near my home. There the librarian helped me out once I told her what I was working on. She advised me to read a book called The Heart Attack Prevention and Recovery Handbook. I followed her advice and checked the book out not knowing how much information I was going to find in this book. In the final days, this book by Jack Gillis, helped me the most from all of my resources I came in touch with.
During the next few days I spend a lot of time in my school library searching the net. I wasn’t surprised at the many wedsites I found, but it did take quiet a while to diminish some of the unneeded sources. Ultimately after working on my computer at both home and school I found the perfect website that held many answers to my unstopping questions. www.galenet.com
At last, after working on my two resources for a while I had to turn to another one. I turned to a perfect medicine encyclopedia titled The Gale Encyclopedia of Medication, which I choose to use as my final resource. And I must conclude that I did the right thing by making this my last resource because I found brief but very useful information. Once I completed my source and bibliography cards on my resources I learned more than I could have ever imagined on heart attacks.
With all of the information I managed to find, I still kept my original search question the same: Is there a risk factor for heart attack and if so what could someone do to prevent it? However, I was able to come up with more detailed questions on my topic. I ended up narrowing my topic to five main subjects that I found important for my research to be discussed: What it is; Signs and Symptoms; Care; Medication; Life after Heart Attack.
The first thing I found out and wanted to know more about is what a heart attack really is. Most heart attacks are the end result of years of silent but progressive coronary artery disease, the two arteries that provide blood to the heart. A heart attack is also called a myocardial infartion. It is the leading cause of death in America. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to the heart muscle itself, the myocardium, is severely reduced or stopped. This occurs when one of the coronary arteries, that surround the heart like a crown and supply blood to the heart muscle, is blocked. The blockage is usually from the build-up of plaque, fat like substances, due to atherosclerosis, and can lead to a heart attack.
My next finding was on signs and symptoms. The most common sign is chest pain. This pain may feel crushing or heave. It may spread to the neck, jaw, shoulders, back, or left arm. This one-two punch to the heart may feel like you are having indigestion or burning under the breastbone. Other signs may be trouble, sweating, or nausea and vomiting. Your skin may be pale or cool or you may feel lightheaded or weak. Some people have no chest pain, this is called a silent heart attack. Knowing this information on signs and symptoms might just save your life, because one out of every five people that suffer from a heart attack don’t even know that one has occurred since they don’t feel much pain in their chest. This can cause a lot of damage to your heart. Half of these people die before even getting to the hospital, like my uncle. Those who do get to the hospital almost two out of five die within the same year.
The third thing I found is the kind of care you get hopefully once you make it to the hospital. When you arrive you will be put in the hospital for tests and treatment. Pain medicine and oxygen may be given. You may be hooked-up to a heart monitor so caregivers can monitor your heart. The infected person may be privileged to medicine to break up clots that are blocking the hear. The heart may not be damaged if these clots are removed soon after your chest pain starts. Caregivers may proceed with a cardiac catheterization. This is a test that shows if there are blockages in the arteries of your heart. If there are, you may need an angioplasty. This is a balloon that opens the arteries up other wise you will need surgery. After surgery or any other treatment, the person who suffered from a heart attack like 1,000 Americans do every year may stay in the hospital from three to fourteen days depending on the recovery process.
One of the most common medications I happened to run into in my fourth finding was Aspirin. This is the most prevalent medication doctors tell heart attack patients to use. It is a pain reliever and it can actually reduce the risk of some people to ever have a heart attack. However, doctors are learning that this common chemical compound has properties that make it an effective medication for heart patients. Even a small amount of this commonly used medication, from less the one half a tablet daily, produces an important effect. Certainly there are many more medications subscribed nowadays by doctors but non is used in the American society as much as Aspirin.
In conclusion with my findings, I read an article that I found very interesting in my book about life after heart attack. A few years ago it might have sounded impossible telling a victim of a heart attack that there is life after this for them. Today it is reality. You can life a full, active life after a heart attack if you follow your Cardiologists advise to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating right, not smoking, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, not drinking, and relaxing. These simple things can change your life for the better and the earlier you start accomplishing these goals the easier it will be for you in the future. So if you have time just get your young self out there to the gym and spend some quality time exorcising and maybe next time you go t a fast food restaurant you will remember what happened to my uncle at the age of 43.
After spending much valuable time on my research, I can state that there are a lot of risk factors out there today for heart attacks. If you just put some work into a few simple things like exercising, eat right, and simple maintain a healthy lifestyle you should be more then fine in the future. This also includes regular visits to the doctor, not smoking or drinking, and relaxing. So don’t wait until the last minute to accomplish this goals start today and know that your are doing the best you can to reduce another American from getting affected from this tragically death threatening disease.
In conclusion, doing this research took more time that I could have ever imagined because I tough we had a week or so. I learned how to be more organized, how to spend my time more realistically, and how to write longer reports. I learned how to do all this things in the last two months and I’m working as hard as I can to keep up with them when I do some other related work. In addition to learning a lot about heart attack I have learned what my family and I have to do to prevent heart attacks from occurring ever again in my family. Can I be sure that nobody will have a heart attack in my family? No but I know that we are doing the best we can to reduce the risk that another member will suffer the same as my uncle did and that’s all that really matters.
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