SCAD; A Heart Attack that affects young women

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There’s this myth that heart attack affects old people above 50 years alone. well, studies have proven that this is not a true impression. In reality, Studies have shown that the Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection, commonly known as SCAD, is a heart disease, similar to the infamous heart attach.

This heart disease, is unique among the female gender, although, SCAD is responsible for about 40% of heark attacks overall, about 90% of SCAD patients are Women.

This heart condition is common among the younger women. It is a major factor to be considered in women who are younger than 50 years ranging from teenagers to adults, and inbetween.

The heart disease is usually misdiagnosed in medical centres by practitioners, and may lead to treatment that can cause more artery damage. Although, many researchers have been rushing to learn more about SCAD and are starting to better understand how it works and how to treat it.

The process of diagnosis for heart attack and SCAD are different, as Heart attacks are typically diagnosed with an electrocardiogram (a test showing the heart’s electrical activity with lines on paper) and blood work, but SCAD can only be diagnosed with an angiogram (an X-ray test using special dye and a camera to take pictures of blood flow in the coronary arteries).

SCAD is an uncommon emergency condition that occurs when a tear forms in one of the blood vessels in the heart. Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) can slow or block blood flow to the heart, causing a heart attack, abnormalities in heart rhythm or sudden death.

Spontaneous coronary artery dissection was found to sometimes occur in the first few weeks after delivery and happens with both planned C-sections and unplanned vaginal deliveries. Although researchers haven’t been able to pinpoint a specific gender or hormonal explanation, but they know the physical strain of childbirth isn’t the main cause of SCAD.

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SCAD is associated with other artery problems, most commonly fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD). This disease causes cells to grow abnormally in artery walls and is seen in at least half of SCAD patients also, diseases that cause inflammation of the blood vessels, such as lupus and polyarteritis nodosa, have been associated with SCAD. This irregular growth can weaken the artery walls and reduce blood flow. FMD can also cause high blood pressure, a stroke and tears in other blood vessels. FMD occurs more often in women than it does in men.

Some Symptoms of SCAD Include;

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • A rapid heartbeat or fluttery feeling in the chest
  • Pain in your arms, shoulders or jaw
  • Sweating
  • Unusual, extreme tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness

Heart attack patients often have stents implanted to open their blocked arteries. But stents can make things worse for many SCAD patients, since they have tears in otherwise normal arteries. With SCAD, the artery that’s dissected or torn is very fragile, and procedures can extend the tear.

SCAD can reoccur few hours after it has been treated, or many years later. Regular exercises, as well as good food for general heart health, should be the lifestyle of a patient with SCAD symptoms, or who have formally been diagnosed with SCAD. It is necessary for SCAD patients to avoid the things that can lead to heart attacks — like smoking, diabetes, or being overweight.

The heart disease can be treated within a week if diagnosed early. Late diagnosis can lead to a permanent or lingering heart damage. research is still undergoing to find out if it is hereditary, although, there is a probability that it runs in families.

Doctors often use a combination of aspirin and an anti-platelet medication to treat SCAD patients, they observe them closely for early complications, and have them do a heart rehabilitation program. Patients get medically supervised  exercise, and education about heart health, they also get emotional support.

Patients often report the occurrences of physical and emotional stress days before a SCAD attack. Deep emotional and physical stress can be caused by prior activities , ranging from a death in the family, breakdown in marriage, job stress, or intense physical exercise to, even the lifting of heavy items.

More awareness about this condition should be created, so that doctors would not dismiss young women and ladies with such chronic conditions, without knowing the major causes of the complaint. Doctors should pay serious attention to young ladies who come in with health issues of which they are unsure, especially heart or chest related complaints, without dismissing or turning them away with wrong assumptions and diagnosis of anxiety, they should be taken seriously.

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