A heart attack, or an acute myocardial infarction, can profoundly reduce your quality of life. During a heart attack, part of your heart muscle becomes damaged and dies. That is why the treatment of heart attacks focuses on preserving your heart’s function, and avoiding another heart attack in the future.
Find a Doctor at Dignity Health and have a conversation about your heart health to prevent the need for heart attack treatment in the Bay Area.
Expert Care for Heart Attack at Dignity Health
Prompt action can save your life during a heart attack. If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of a heart attack, don’t wait to see if the symptoms go away — call 9-1-1 and seek immediate medical attention.
Emergency treatments for heart attack include:
- Oxygen to relieve shortness of breath
- Aspirin to prevent the formation of new blood clots
- Nitroglycerine to relax blood vessels, so your heart doesn’t have to pump as hard
- Intravenous pain medication to help chest pain and reduce anxiety
If your doctor tells you that you are having a heart attack, you may need to immediately consider one of the following treatment options:
- Coronary angioplasty — a surgical procedure to clear blockages in the arteries supplying your heart
- Stent placement — stents hold arteries open after blockages are removed
- Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery — the creation of a new pathway for blood to reach the heart
Your doctor may suggest some follow-up treatments, including:
- Quitting smoking to improve your lung health and reduce risk of another heart attack
- Lifestyle changes, including getting regular exercise and eating a heart-healthy diet
- Cardiac rehabilitation, a medically supervised program to help you adopt a healthier lifestyle
- Medication to manage risk factors like high blood pressure
Thinking About Your Treatment Options
During a heart attack, it may be necessary for you to make a quick decision regarding treatment. After the emergency passes, your Dignity Health doctor will guide you in considering follow-up treatments to improve your heart health.
Your specific treatment recommendations will take into account your overall health, the severity of your heart disease, the extent of the damage to your heart, and your personal preferences.
How You Can Prevent Heart Attack
Nearly all heart attacks can be prevented. Take action to reduce your risk:
- Quit smoking.
- Seek treatment for heart conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain a healthy body weight.
- Avoid too much salt.
- Eat a diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats.
- Find effective methods of coping with mental stress.
- Maintain control of your blood sugar, if you have diabetes.
Concerned about your heart? Take our free heart risk assessment and discuss your results with a Dignity Health doctor in the Bay Area.
Dignity Health provides expert care, from prevention and chronic disease management to heart attack treatment, in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.