Heart attack (myocardial infarction) - signs, symptoms, causes, therapies

Heart attack (myocardial infarction) - signs, symptoms, causes, therapies

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Heart attack - a quick overview

Heart attack, also called myocardial infarction, is life-threatening and is one of the most common causes of death worldwide. Since this disease can affect anyone, it is important to know the early warning signs, symptoms, causes, therapies and preventive measures. Here is a brief overview:

  • Early warning sign: Recurring pain in the chest area or in the legs, which occurs during exercise or stress, and then subsides, can be a harbinger and should be examined urgently by a doctor.
  • Symptoms: A sudden and long-lasting pain in the left chest area, which often radiates towards the neck, back, upper abdomen and arms, is characteristic. In addition, typical side effects such as pallor, shortness of breath, cold sweat, feelings of tightness in the chest, nausea, restlessness and anxiety may occur. With these signs must immediately be called an emergency doctor!
  • causes: A heart attack is typically triggered by occlusion of the coronary arteries that supply the heart muscle with blood. The lack of blood leads to the continual death of the heart muscle cells and can lead to complete failure of the organ if left untreated.
  • therapy: The basic prerequisite for therapy is the fastest possible professional care for patients. If there is any suspicion, the emergency number 112 should be called immediately.
  • Prevention: A healthy lifestyle with regular exercise can significantly reduce the risk. This includes a healthy diet that is characterized by little meat, instead more fish, vegetable oils and lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • risk groups: Smokers are around three times as likely to be a non-smoker. People with high blood pressure and diabetics also belong to the risk group.

Every minute counts

A heart attack is an acute emergency situation in which the first few minutes are of crucial importance. Research shows that death occurred in about half of the patients who died of an infarction within the first 15 minutes. For this reason, if there is reasonable suspicion, the emergency doctor should be informed immediately on 112.
[GList slug = ”5 signs of a heart attack”]

An infarction is a drastic experience in the life of those affected. It almost always leads to rethinking lifestyle habits. The prognosis after an infarction depends crucially on the extent to which favorable risk factors continue to exist and how much myocardial tissue is affected.


The term heart attack describes an acute circulatory disorder of the heart that lasts for a longer period of time (usually at least 20 minutes) and causes the heart muscle tissue to die. Furthermore, there are different definitions, which are based, for example, on the extent of the detectable damage. Numerous synonyms are used for the term, such as myocardial infarction, myocardial infarction, infarction, heart attack, heartbeat, front wall infarction, rear wall infarction or acute coronary syndrome. In the end, behind all of these names there is a potentially life-threatening acute impairment of heart function due to insufficient blood circulation.


According to the Federal Statistical Office, heart attacks are still one of the most common causes of death in Germany, even though the number of deaths has been declining for decades. According to official figures, around 50,000 people died in Germany in 2015 from such a seizure, making acute myocardial infarction the second most common cause of death in Germany after chronic ischemic heart disease (including coronary heart disease). In total, well over 250,000 Germans suffer an infarction each year (the German Heart Foundation even estimates that there are more than 300,000 cases annually). While this number has been fairly consistent over the past few years, the number of deaths associated with it has continued to decline thanks to improved medical care.


As a rule, an impairment of the coronary arteries in the form of coronary artery disease forms the basis for the occurrence of a myocardial infarction. For example, the coronary arteries are increasingly narrowed as arteriosclerosis progresses, which leads to coronary artery disease (CAD) and a corresponding reduction in blood flow to the heart muscle. The more this affects blood flow to the heart muscle tissue, the higher the likelihood of a myocardial infarction.

Blood clot as a trigger

If the coronary arteries are blocked by blood clots (thrombi), inadequate blood circulation and an associated insufficient supply of oxygen (ischemia) to the heart muscle are inevitable. The cardiac muscle cells begin to die 20 to 30 minutes after the blood flow is interrupted.

After three to six hours, the damage is irreversible

After three to six hours, irreversible necrosis of the affected muscle tissue has developed. Ultimately, triggering factors for the heart attack can also be physical exertion and stressful situations. Statistically speaking, most heart attacks occur in the early morning - due to the morning rise in blood pressure.

More triggers

In addition to the arteriosclerotic changes in the coronary arteries, various other, rarer diseases can be mentioned as a possible cause for narrowing of the coronary arteries and a subsequent heart attack. For example, occlusion of the coronary arteries can also occur as a result of inflammation of the inner lining of the heart (endocarditis) or a tumor on the heart.

Heart attack symptoms

The symptoms of the patients can manifest themselves in very different forms depending on the location and the extent of the circulatory disorder of the heart muscle tissue. Gender-specific differences in symptoms are also observed. Pain does not occur in about 20 percent of all myocardial infarctions, which sometimes significantly delays the diagnosis. The following general symptom applies:

  • Violent heartache,
  • Chest pain,
  • Pressure on the chest and stinging in the chest,
  • Radiating pain especially in the left arm, but also in other parts of the body,
  • violent shortness of breath,
  • cold sweats,
  • Paleness,
  • Nausea and vomiting,
  • other side effects such as abdominal pain, stomach pressure, back pain, shoulder blade pain, dizziness and jaw pain.

In view of the dramatic symptoms, the patients usually develop massive (death) fear. However, not every heart attack is accompanied by correspondingly serious symptoms. It is not uncommon for a heart attack that has been recovered to be determined afterwards after a subsequent ECG examination. This is more often the case with women than with men, not least because the symptoms in women are often significantly less specific. In addition, more or less symptom-free infarctions can be observed more often in diabetes patients.

Symptoms after localization of the occlusion

The symptoms can also vary significantly depending on the location of the occlusion of the coronary arteries. For example, in a so-called posterior wall infarction, which is due to a circulatory disorder in the right coronary artery, pain in the upper abdomen tends to be recorded, while in a so-called anterior wall infarction (triggered by a circulatory disorder in the left coronary artery), the symptoms in the chest area are more pronounced.

Heart attack signs in women

In general, women experience more inconspicuous symptoms such as shortness of breath, exhaustion, anxiety, stomach problems or nausea and vomiting as a result of the infarction. Symptoms such as sleep disorders and chronic fatigue can also be observed in the run-up to many patients, according to the results of a study published in 2003 in the journal "Circulation" by US scientists from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Another US research team published a meta-study on symptoms in women in 2007 in the journal "JAMA Internal Medicine", according to which around a third of the patients in the large cohort studies evaluated and a quarter of the patients in the smaller examinations considered did not show chest pain as the main symptom.

Risk factors

Smoking, overweight, too little exercise - many (but not all) heart attacks can be avoided. Various aspects favor disease of the coronary arteries. Known physical risk factors include:

  • Diabetes mellitus,
  • High blood pressure and disorders of fat metabolism,
  • Accumulation of heart attack cases within the family,
  • Smoke,
  • excessive alcohol consumption (alcoholism),
  • Lack of exercise,
  • Sleep disorders,
  • Obesity.

Migraine sufferers with aura symptoms are also at significantly higher risk, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in 2013, which is why migraines are also counted among the risk factors, even if the symptoms may arise from the same causes and Migraines are therefore only indirectly related to the increased risk.

Psychological risk factors

Psychological causes, such as massive stress, depression, regular tantrums and anxiety disorders or panic attacks, are also associated with the symptoms. In addition, a study published in the journal Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association in early 2012 by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Harvard Medical School in Boston demonstrated that the loss of a loved one and the subsequent grief was significant The risk increases (see Grief increases the risk of heart attack).

Vitamin deficiency

Impairments in the vitamin balance or a lack of vitamin D3 in the blood serum is also associated with an increased risk. An increased blood level of the amino acid homocysteine ​​is also considered to be a risk of heart attack, particularly in patients who already suffer from coronary heart disease.

Self-assessment of the risk

To assess the individual risk, the German Heart Foundation offers an online test on its website, which is intended to make it easy for anyone who has not been diagnosed with vascular disease to easily assess their own risk of disease. Known risk factors such as nicotine consumption, nutrition, possible overweight, blood pressure and personal stress are included in the test. Although the test result only allows an initial assessment of the risk, which does not necessarily have to be the case, poor performance can make those affected aware that they belong to the risk group and thus motivate them to take appropriate preventive measures.

Heart attack early warning sign

Various warning signals can appear long in advance, the German Heart Foundation citing leg pain as an indication of an increased risk of seizures. Anyone who has pain in their calves when walking, which quickly subsides when standing still, or who suffers from pain in the toe area when lying down, who declines when they get up, should consider this a possible sign of arteriosclerosis and seek a medical diagnosis, the heart foundation recommends .

The two types of pain mentioned are "often a sign that there is arteriosclerosis in the blood vessels of the legs, which can not only endanger the affected leg, but also explains the increased risk of heart attack", said the German Heart Foundation. According to the experts, the advantage of early detection of hardening of the arteries is "that the increased risk of heart attack can almost always be significantly reduced with a few well-thought-out measures."

First measures in a heart attack

If there is a suspicion of an infarction in view of the existing symptoms, quick action is required, since a few minutes can decide the life and death of the patient. An emergency doctor should be alerted immediately (phone number 112) to ensure that the patient is transferred to medical hands as quickly as possible. There is no need to hesitate here, because according to the German Heart Foundation, around "every third heart attack patient in Germany dies before reaching the clinic because the emergency call 112 has been waiting too long, preventing timely treatment."

Pick up the phone immediately in an emergency

Despite clearly identifiable symptoms, many people wait too long, which can cost life-saving time. According to the German Heart Foundation, the principle applies here: the sooner infarct patients are treated in the clinic, the more heart muscle and thus heart pumping power can be maintained, which in turn not only increases the chances of survival but also improves the quality of life for the patient goes along.

Measures until the emergency doctor arrives

After the emergency services have been alerted, different measures are necessary depending on the condition of those affected or can provide short-term relief. For example, removing tight clothing and fresh air is perceived as a relief by many patients.

Resuscitation measures

If cardiac arrest has already started, cardiopulmonary resuscitation can save lives. The cardiac massage alone (without mouth-to-mouth ventilation) is also suitable as an immediate measure for cardiac arrest, according to the Heart Foundation. If an adult's heart suddenly stops, there is sufficient oxygen in the blood for about eight minutes, which simply does not reach the brain due to the lack of pumping power. The cardiac massage ensures the oxygen supply here.

According to the German Heart Foundation, “lay helpers who do not master mouth-to-mouth ventilation often make mistakes” and “inexperienced people should therefore limit themselves to cardiac massage.” Cardiac arrest can be assumed if the person concerned no longer responds to or physical stimuli react and show noticeable changes in breathing (wheezing, gasping for air).

Sudden loss of control

In general, if there is suspicion that those affected should under no circumstances drive to the clinic themselves, as there is a risk of a sudden loss of control.


Based on the symptoms to be observed, pulse measurements, blood pressure measurements and listening to the chest, the rescue workers make an initial diagnosis, which is usually an acute coronary syndrome in the event of a heart attack and must be narrowed down in the further course. Here, the fastest possible creation of an EKG is required to determine a possible ST elevation infarction and to be able to immediately initiate the necessary treatment measures. In general, timely diagnosis plays a crucial role in the care of potential patients. However, a reliable diagnosis can sometimes only be made a few hours after the acute event based on a blood test.

Note on terminology

With regard to the use of the terms, it should be explained that in the medical community, when the typical symptoms appear, acute coronary syndrome (acute impairment of the coronary arteries) is mentioned, which in turn leads to the so-called ST-elevation infarction, the non-ST-elevation infarction and unstable angina pectoris is distinguished. The definition of changes in the ST segment is based on the diagnosis using an electrocardiogram (EKG).


In the ECG, symptoms typical of an infarct are shown by changes in the heart currents, which enables conclusions to be drawn about the size, location and age of the infarction. If a so-called ST segment elevation is found, this is considered a relatively reliable indication of a heart attack. On the other hand, less clear statements make it possible to determine an ST segment decrease in the EKG. Only a subsequent blood test can provide conclusive information here, which delays the diagnosis by a few hours.

The so-called exercise electrocardiogram and the long-term electrocardiogram are used to assess the heart function and thus the risk of further heart complaints after an attack.

Blood test

The blood test looks for special biomarkers such as cardiac muscle-typical troponin, glycogen phosphorylase BB or special creatine kinase (creatine phosphokinase; CK), which are considered a reliable indicator of a recent heart attack. Appropriate evidence of the biomarkers in the blood is usually only possible a few hours after the heart attack. In order to be able to limit the time and the extent, the blood test is repeated at regular intervals.

Cardiac ultrasound (echocardiography)

To estimate the risk up to the time of the final diagnosis, so-called echocardiography (ultrasound examination of the heart) is usually carried out, in which the heart walls, heart valves, cardiac cavities, as well as the mobility of the heart and thus the pump function can be checked. If the blood flow is interrupted by an infarction, this becomes visible in cardiac ultrasound. The section of the heart in question is not moving normally. Accumulations of fluid in the pericardium can also be determined using echocardiography.

Coronary angiography

Another option for diagnosis is coronary angiography. Here, a contrast medium is injected directly into the coronary arteries via a so-called cardiac catheter and then an image of the blood vessels is created by means of an X-ray. Vascular constrictions and occlusions can be seen relatively clearly on this. Although coronary angiography requires the placement of a cardiac catheter, i.e. an invasive procedure, this also offers the option of combining diagnosis and treatment in one session if there are constrictions of the coronary vessels because percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA ) can be done.

Differential diagnosis

The symptoms can be easily confused with other diseases, especially as long as no more detailed examination has been carried out, so that a differential diagnosis is required here. Diseases with similar symptoms that should be checked by differential diagnosis include, for example, pulmonary embolism, spontaneous pneumothorax, acute abdomen (acute abdominal pain), aortic dissection or biliary colic. In fact, in the course of the diagnosis of numerous patients, it turns out that the supposed heart attack was actually another illness.


After the important initial measures, the patients are brought to an intensive care unit, where further therapeutic measures are initiated. These include:

  • Acute treatment,
  • Lysis therapy,
  • PTCA / balloon expansion,
  • Bypass surgery,
  • Long-term treatment with medication,
  • ideally a change in lifestyle.

Acute treatment for myocardial infarction

Affected people must be monitored and treated in the intensive care unit, as complications can arise in the acute phase that require an intensive medical response immediately. First, various medicines are used to try to correct the narrowing of the coronary arteries and to ensure that the heart is supplied with oxygen again. Mostly nitroglycerin spray is used, which due to its vasodilating effect already significantly alleviates the symptoms in many sufferers. Pain relievers, sedatives, medicines for nausea and for stabilizing the heart rhythm can also be used.

Lysis therapy

The most important goal of the restoration is to restore the blood supply to the heart muscle tissue to the required extent. Here, for example, in the case of an ST elevation infarction, so-called lysis therapy is usually used, which is intended to dissolve a possible thrombus in the coronary arteries with medication. This treatment is most promising if it is given within the first hours after the symptoms appear. Appropriate medication is therefore usually injected by the emergency doctor. However, their use in a non-ST elevation infarction is contraindicated, which is why it is essential to limit the type of infarction in advance of the lysis therapy.

PTCA (Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty) / Balloon Expansion (Balloon Dilatation)

If the infarction is due to constricted or closed coronary arteries, it is possible to penetrate the affected blood vessels using a so-called balloon catheter, which is usually inserted on the groin, and expand them by inflating a tiny balloon (balloon dilation). In case of doubt, the stabilization of the vascular wall can also be carried out by means of a so-called stent (tiny tubular implant) in the course of the procedure, in order to prevent the coronary vessels from narrowing again at the same point. The intervention is monitored by coronary angiography. Often, complex and risky cardiac surgery can be avoided with the help of the PTCA and, if necessary, the insertion of a stent.

Bypass surgery

If the attempts at lysis therapy and PTCA are unsuccessful, the possibility of a so-called bypass operation remains. A bypass of the narrowed coronary arteries is created here in the course of a quite complex intervention. To date, open-heart surgery is usually required, even if modern, minimally invasive procedures exist. Pieces of the left chest artery or leg veins are usually used as material for the newly created blood paths.

Long-term treatment

If the acute event is over, further treatment of the patient is required to prevent the symptoms from recurring. Various medications are available for therapy here, which have different effects and can be combined in various ways depending on the symptoms and the size of the infarction. The following are the most important medicines for the aftercare of patients:

  • Acetylsalicylic acid inhibits the clumping of blood platelets within the vascular system and thus improves the flow properties of the blood.
  • Beta blocker lower the heart rate and blood pressure and thus the oxygen demand of the heart.
  • ACE inhibitorsdilate blood vessels, lower blood pressure and relieve the heart.

Drug treatment is most promising when patients simultaneously examine their own lifestyle and thereby exclude risk factors that they can influence. So smoking should be given up, weight should be taken and low-cholesterol diets should be used. A regular blood pressure check may also be appropriate here. In addition, those affected have to think about how they can better cope with stressful situations in the future.

In order to achieve the most successful follow-up treatment, outpatient or inpatient follow-up treatment (AHB) is beneficial, which is usually recommended after the hospital stay. This measure, which usually lasts three weeks, is intended to enable the best possible and complete reintegration into everyday life through physiotherapy, dosed physical training, training measures and psychosocial care.

If the heart's pumping function is permanently impaired, a so-called defibrillator can be implanted, which counteracts serious cardiac arrhythmias and potentially life-threatening ventricular fibrillation in the event of an emergency.

Complications and consequential damage

Complications can occur, especially in the first few hours, but also during the first few days. Typical early complications that show up in a large part of the affected patients are cardiac arrhythmias such as ventricular or atrial fibrillation. Ventricular fibrillation is the most common cause of patient death. However, an extremely slow pulse caused by an AV block (a conduction disturbance) also occurs and sometimes requires the use of a pacemaker. In order to minimize the risk, the cardiac functions of those affected are continuously monitored by an ECG and, in an emergency, defibrillation or pacemaker implantation is carried out immediately. If there is extensive necrotization of the heart muscle tissue in the course of the infarct, there is a risk of left heart failure followed by pulmonary congestion and even pulmonary edema.

In addition, around 15 percent of patients are affected by a so-called cardiogenic shock. This life-threatening circulatory failure with severe oxygen deficiency in the organism arises when the heart is no longer able to pump enough blood and supply the body. The damage to the heart due to the circulatory disorders can be so extensive that adequate cardiac function cannot be restored and the use of a pacemaker becomes necessary.

Late complications

In addition to the complications that occur in the first hours and days, late complications can occur up to six weeks after the infarction. These include, for example, a cardiac wall aneurysm (sagging of the heart wall), pulmonary embolism and pericarditis (inflammation of the pericardium). Persistent angina pectoris or even new heart attacks are not uncommon. Overall, the risk of complications in older patients is significantly higher on average than in younger patients. From the age of 75, the death rate of the patients treated in the hospital also increases significantly (from around seven percent to just under 24 percent), according to the results of a study conducted by German researchers at the “Landeskrankenhaus Salzburg - University Hospital of the Paracelsus Medical Private University” in the year 2006.

Naturopathy for heart diseases

In the event of a heart attack, there is usually no way around the intensive medical care of those affected, but naturopathic procedures can certainly be used to support conventional medical therapy for heart diseases. These procedures include, for example:

  • Nutritional therapy
  • Manual therapy
  • Phytotherapy
  • Okay therapy

Nutritional therapy and orthomolecular therapy

In order to minimize the risk factors, patients with coronary heart disease should always consider a base-surplus, predominantly lactovegetable and low-cholesterol whole food diet. If the patient suffers from overweight, the weight should be reduced gently. If there is evidence of overacidification of the organism, deacidification with base salts is recommended. Furthermore, studies prove the positive effect that the administration of magnesium can have in the prevention and therapy of angina pectoris and heart attacks.

Manual therapy

Gentle manual therapy or manual procedures such as osteopathy can also be useful for patients with heart problems. Appropriate massages are suitable to improve peripheral blood circulation, the relaxing effect of which also has a positive effect on the patient's condition. Austrian osteopath Gudrun Wagner, D.O. from Vienna has developed treatment techniques that, according to the "Guidelines for Visceral Osteopathy", place the "anatomical-physiological center of heart development and function at the center" of the treatment approach. Other approaches in osteopathy, such as those of the French osteopaths Jean Pierre Barral and Pierre Mercier, are based on breathing movements and anatomical connections.

Fascia distortion model

The founder of the manual method of the fascia distortion model (FDM), Dr. Stephen Typaldos saw the infarct as a problem of the fasciae of the coronary arteries and ligaments of the heart. According to his observations, the coronary arteries could have cylinder distortions or trigger bands or combinations of both fascia distortions.


Various standardized plant extracts can influence the causes of heart disease. For example, phytopharmaceuticals that promote blood circulation (for example, ginkgo) or vascular protective agents (for example, garlic) are useful for many patients. Preparations made from hawthorn are also particularly helpful. This medicinal plant improves both the coronary blood flow and the contractility of the heart muscle.

Okay therapy

Eliminating existing risk factors plays an important role in the recovery of cardiac patients. A way of life that allows a healthy level of exercise, but also the necessary rest periods and thus enables the reduction of stress, is essential to reduce the risk of (further) infarctions. Depending on the results of the exercise ECG, light exercise without overloading and endurance training such as walking or cycling are recommended. Relaxation procedures such as autogenic training, self-hypnosis or the so-called progressive muscle relaxation according to Jacobson aim to avoid stress.


A detailed medical history is followed by a corresponding repertorization, which leads to the means of choice. Konstitutionelle Mittel, die bei Herzerkrankungen in Frage kommen, sind Aurum metallicum, Aconitum, Apis mellifica, Arnica, Asenicum album, Kalium carbonicum, Phosphor und Veratum album. Den charakteristischen Allgemein- und Gemütssymptomen entsprechend können auch andere Konstitutionsmittel angewandt werden, wobei die Auswahl erfahrenen Therapeuten vorbehalten bleiben sollte.


Werden Komplexmittel eingesetzt, so enthalten diese oft Aconitum (Anwendung bei plötzlichen stechenden Schmerzen in die linke Schulter ausstrahlend, Angst, Tachykardie), Aurum (bei Herzbeklemmung, Hypertonie), Cactus (bei krampfartigen Herzschmerzen, niedrigem Blutdruck) oder Amni visnaga (bei Angina pectoris, Koronarspasmen).

Important: Naturheilkunde und Homöopathie sollten nur in der begleitenden Nachsorge und nicht im Akutfall angewendet werden. Der akute Infarkt gehört in die Hände von Notfallmedizinern.


Wie auch bei der Nachbehandlung der Patienten, bildet Sport beziehungsweise Bewegung ein wesentliches Element der Infarktprävention. Gleiches gilt für den Verzicht auf das Rauchen und die Eliminierung anderer Risikofaktoren. Ebenso kommt der Ernährung bei der Vorbeugung von Herzkrankheiten eine besondere Bedeutung zu. Die Deutsche Herzstiftung empfiehlt hier die mediterrane Küche, aufgrund ihrer vorteilhaften Wirkung auf Herz und Gefäße. Ernährungsexperten halten auf Grundlage mehrerer Studien die Mittelmeer-Diäten für sehr empfehlenswert bei Diabetes und zur Prävention.

Kombination aus gesunder Ernährung und ausreichender Bewegung

Durch die Kombination aus gesunder Ernährung und ausreichend Bewegung lässt sich in der Regel auch bestehendes Übergewicht abbauen, dass seinerseits als Risikofaktor zu bewerten ist. Des Weiteren zeigen sich bei dieser Kombination positive Effekte auf den Blutdruck, was ebenfalls zur Senkung des Infarktrisikos beiträgt. Auch eine medikamentöse Behandlung vorliegenden Bluthochdrucks kann hier eine präventive Wirkung gegenüber Herzinfarkten entfalten. Lesen Sie dazu: Bluthochdruck durch Sport und gesunde Ernährung besiegen.

Schokolade als vorbeugende Maßnahme?

Einen regelrechten Leckerbissen der Prävention stellt der Konsum von Schokolade dar. In den letzten Jahren haben sich die Hinweise darauf verdichtet, dass der Verzehr von Schokolade mit hohem Kakao-Anteil eine Senkung des Risikos mit sich bringt. Im August 2011 veröffentlichte ein britisches Forscherteam um Oscar Franco von der University of Cambridge im „British Medical Journal“ eine Metastudie, die zu dem Ergebnis kam, dass ein sehr hoher Verzehr von Kakao-Produkten das Risiko von Herzinfarkten und Herz-Kreislauf-Erkrankungen um 37 Prozent senkt, gegenüber Probanden, die keine beziehungsweise wenig Kakao-Produkte essen.

Hieraus ist zwar keine allgemeine Empfehlung zum erhöhten Schokoladenkonsum abzuleiten, doch die positiven beziehungsweise protektiven Effekte des Kakaos werden in Fachkreisen intensiv diskutiert und es könnten sich möglicherweise neue Präventionsansätze ergeben. Bisher fehlen jedoch die eindeutigen wissenschaftlichen Belegen für den Wirkungszusammenhang zwischen dem Kakao- beziehungsweise Schokoladenkonsum und dem Risiko eines akuten Koronarsyndroms.

Körperliche Spitzenbelastungen in der Kälte vermeiden

Die Deutsche Herzstiftung stellt für Patienten mit einer bekannten Vorerkrankung des Herzens zahlreiche Informationen zur Verfügung, die zu einer Minimierung des Risikos beitragen können. Hier wird unter anderem auch darauf hingewiesen, dass Herzpatienten, die Verengungen an den Herzkranzgefäßen aufweisen, bei Kälte einem erhöhten Risiko unterliegen, denn Kälte belastet das Herz.

Niedrige Lufttemperaturen können zu einer starken Verengung zahlreicher Blutgefäße führen, woraufhin das Herz gegen einen erhöhten Widerstand anpumpen muss. Dies kann wiederum gefährliche Überlastungen des Herzmuskels und auch einen Herzinfarkt auslösen. Der Deutschen Herzstiftung zufolge, sollten Betroffene daher bei Kälte insbesondere auf solche körperlichen Anstrengungen verzichten, bei denen hohe Spitzenbelastungen auftreten. Ein gänzlicher Verzicht auf körperliche Aktivitäten sei jedoch kontraproduktiv, da auch im Winter regelmäßige Bewegung zu den wirkungsvollsten Möglichkeiten der Prävention zählt.

Weiterführende Informationen

  • Auch das Gehirn nimmt Schaden bei einem überlebten Herzinfarkt. Laut einer relativ neuen Studie verursacht ein Herzinfarkt nicht nur eine Entzündung am Herzmuskel, sondern auch eine langfristige Veränderung im Gehirn.
  • Körpereigene Heilungsprozesse nach Herzinfarkt: Der Körper selbst reagiert schnell nach einem Infarkt, um Heilungsprozesse anzuregen. Wissenschaftler fanden heraus, woher diese Immunantwort kommt.
  • Herzdrücken richtig deuten: Fachärzte unterschreichen die Wichtigkeit, einen Herzinfarkt rechtzeitig zu erkennen und sofort zu handeln. Nur so kann das Herz vor dauerhaften Schäden bewahrt werden.
  • Herzinfarktrisiko in den Haaren messbar: Wie hoch ist das Herzinfarktrisiko eines Menschen? Wissenschaftler haben festgestellt, dass das Herzinfarkt-Risiko mit einer Haaranalyse messbar ist.
  • Frauen: Bei Herzinfarkt oft Bauchschmerzen: Frauen haben bei einem Herzinfarkt oft Bauchschmerzen. Ein Herzinfarkt wird bei ihnen häufig zu spät entdeckt, da die Symptome meist unspezifisch sind.
  • Rheuma lässt Herzinfarkt Risiko ansteigen: Rheuma lässt das Herzinfarkt Risiko steigen. Wird Rheuma frühzeitig erkannt und behandelt, schützen Patienten auch ihr Herz.
  • Stress am Arbeitsplatz erhöht Herzinfarkt-Risiko: Stress ist nicht gesund und erhöht am Arbeitsplatz das Herzinfarkt-Risiko. Mediziner warnen: Dauerhafter Stress im Job erhöht das Herzinfarkt-Risiko erheblich.
  • Herzinfarktrisiko bei Avandia Diabetes Mittel: Herzinfarktrisiko bei Diabetes Mittel. Auch Arzneimittel können ein RIsiko darstellen. Die Europäische Arzneimittelagentur EMA hat daher die Zulassung des Diabetes Mittels Avandia ausgesetzt.
  • Herzinfarktrisiko in Ostdeutschland höher: Männer erleiden häufiger einen Herzinfarkt als Frauen und in den neuen Bundesländern ist das Herzinfarkt-Risiko höher als im Westdeutschland.
  • Herzinfarkt ist eine typische Männerkrankheit: Noch immer ist der Herzinfarkt eine typische Männerkrankheit. In Deutschland sterben wesentlich mehr Männer an den Folgen eines Infarktes als Frauen.

(fp, vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


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  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: Heart Attack (Abruf: 24.07.2019), nhlbi.nih.gov
  • Noble, Alan / Johnson, Robert / Thomas, Alan / u.a.: Organsysteme verstehen - Herz-Kreislauf-System: Integrative Grundlagen und Fälle, Urban & Fischer Verlag / Elsevier GmbH, 2017
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  • Institut für Qualität und Wirtschaftlichkeit im Gesundheitswesen (IQWiG): Anzeichen eines Herzinfarkts (Abruf: 24.07.2019), gesundheitsinformation.de
  • Merck and Co., Inc.: Akute Koronarsyndrome (Herzinfarkt, Myokardinfarkt, instabile Angina pectoris) (Abruf: 24.07.2019), msdmanuals.com
  • Deutsches Zentrum für Herz-Kreislauf-Forschung e.V.: Herzinfarkt (Abruf: 24.07.2019), dzhk.de
  • Deutsches Rotes Kreuz e.V.: Einen Herzinfarkt erkennen (Abruf: 24.07.2019), drk.de
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kardiologie – Herz-und Kreislaufforschung e.V.: ESC Pocket Guidelines: 4. Definition des Myokardinfarkt, Version 2018., leitlinien.dgk.org
  • Herold, Gerd: Internal Medicine 2019, self-published, 2018
  • Harvard Health Publishing: Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction) (Abruf: 24.07.2019), health.harvard.edu
  • Mayo Clinic: Heart attack (Abruf: 24.07.2019), mayoclinic.org

ICD-Codes für diese Krankheit:I21, I22ICD-Codes sind international gültige Verschlüsselungen für medizinische Diagnosen. You can find e.g. in doctor's letters or on disability certificates.

Video: The diagnosis and treatment of Myocardial Infarction for Healthcare Professionals (December 2022).