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Old 12-13-2010, 01:07 PM   #1
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General question about heart attacks...

Hello. I have a 47 year old friend and I am posting these questions for her. First of all, if someone is having a heart attack, will a rescue or long term acting inhaler help the shortness of breath? I have been told that if its a true heart attack, inhalers will not help but she wanted to ask anyway. Also, when having a heart attack, is there a difference in short of breath from actually having the heart attack and it being an asthma situation? How do you know in other words when it's heart or asthma related?

Thanks for the information!

 
Old 12-13-2010, 10:20 PM   #2
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Re: General question about heart attacks...

Call 911 immediately!

 
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Old 12-14-2010, 08:48 AM   #3
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Re: General question about heart attacks...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katielyn View Post
... Also, when having a heart attack, is there a difference in short of breath from actually having the heart attack and it being an asthma situation? How do you know in other words when it's heart or asthma related?

Thanks for the information!
I've had Heart Failure and Asthma for over 24 years. So.... I frequently get shortness of breath. In fact, it is my main issue. I also can get chest pains and a host of other symptoms.

That said, over the years I have had to distinguish between whether my breathing problems were related to Asthma or to my Heart.

My first approaches are to take my blood pressure and listen to my heart beat with my stethoscope.

If my blood pressure is high, then it's nitro time and I suspect that I am experiencing a heart issue. Also, if my heartbeat is strong, and somewhat regular, then I suspect Asthma. If the heartbeat is weak or erratic, I suspect it is my heart.

If I suspect my heart, I can take a nitro and/or do a series of deep breathing exercises.

If my blood pressure and heart beat and heart rate are reasonable, I use my Asthma Inhaler.

Most of the time, I can correctly diagnose whether my breathing problems are more related to my heart or more related to my Asthma, through these approaches that I have listed.

Anyways..... since it has been almost a day since your 47 year old friend experienced these symptoms, how did everything turn out? What did she decide to do?
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CHF, A-Fib, HBP, Diabetes, Asthma doing great

⇒ Avoid allergic & non-allergic irritants/triggers
⇒ Low calorie ovo-vegetarian diet
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⇒ Coreg 25mg bid

 
Old 12-15-2010, 03:57 PM   #4
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Re: General question about heart attacks...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katielyn View Post
Hello. I have a 47 year old friend and I am posting these questions for her. First of all, if someone is having a heart attack, will a rescue or long term acting inhaler help the shortness of breath? I have been told that if its a true heart attack, inhalers will not help but she wanted to ask anyway. Also, when having a heart attack, is there a difference in short of breath from actually having the heart attack and it being an asthma situation? How do you know in other words when it's heart or asthma related?

Thanks for the information!
High Katielyn, a true heart attack is myocardia infarct indicating heart muscle damage (necrotic cells...dead and sometimes there are stunned cells that can be revitalized if treated timely) due to lack of oxygentated blood.

Unforunately, inhalers only open up the airways by relaxing muscles, which allows air to get in and out of the patient's lungs more easily and may not effect the blood oxygenated needed immediately to the heart cells.

The difference between asthma related SOB and heart failure SOB are clinically different if that is your question. Asthma causes shortness of breath due to the respiratory system and that can cause hypoxia (low oxygen level in the blood to the heart tissues. And there is hypoxia ischemia that is lack of oxygen due to reduced vessel blood flow to the heart.

I had a silent heart attack more than 6 years ago, and the only symptom I had was heart failure and in ICU for several days. Heart failure (less than 30% blood pumped with each stroke) can cause shortness of breath. Low cardiac output will increase aspiration as a compensating factor for the low oxygen level to the heart.

When I was in heart failure (some may refer it as heart attack...but isn't) my heart rate was higher than normal at rest (115), low blood pressure, compensation by restricting vessels to raise blood volume, shortness of breath, etc.

I'm not sure how there could be a difference determined as either heart failure or/and a respiratory disorder causing SOB. But having an MI there almost always are more significant symptoms due to the immediate necrosis of heart cells and then failure for the heart to adequately pump...can cause cardiac arrest, etc.

Last edited by started04; 12-15-2010 at 04:02 PM. Reason: spelling

 
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