What is an acute myocardial infarction?

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Acute Myocardial Iinfarction Defined

What is an acute myocardial infarction?

A myocardial infarction is when blood flow to a section of the heart becomes blocked and the heart muscle cannot get the oxygen it needs to function properly. If the blood flow is not restored quickly, that section of heart muscle will begin to die. Depending on how long the blood supply is restricted, the damage to the heart muscle can be mild, moderate (lifelong problems) or fatal.

What is the main cause of a myocardial infarction?

Most commonly, the cause of an acute myocardial infarction is a blocked artery. Arteries can become blocked when cholesterol plaque builds up on the inside of arterial walls. Plaque is rigid and causes arteries to harden. This condition is called atherosclerosis. An artery can become blocked if the plaque bursts, and subsequently the surrounding blood starts to clot. The clot can become so large that the blood flow through the artery is blocked.

Another cause of an acute myocardial infarction is coronary artery spasms. A spasm can cause the artery to tighten temporarily. A tighten artery is narrow, restricting blood flow. Why a spasm occurs is often unknown.

Risks of leaving an acute myocardial infarction untreated

According to the American College of Cardiology, within one year of a first recognized heart attack 23% of women and 18% of men will die. Another 25% of female and 22% of male heart attack survivors will be diagnosed with heart failure within five years. You do not have to be part of these statistics. It is possible to prevent a second heart attack and regain your health.

Can you fully recover from a heart attack?

The most important thing to do after a myocardial infarction (heart attack) is to enroll in a cardiac rehabilitation program. Cardiac rehabilitation programs have been shown to lower mortality in patients who have had a heart attack.

Evidence shows you can regain your health and reduce your risk of death with exercise. After an acute myocardial infarction one of the best things you can do is put your left foot in front of your right, and repeat! Walking is a great way to introduce more activity into your day. However, jumping on a treadmill or starting a new workout program could be dangerous without first consulting cardiac rehabilitation experts. In fact, it is not the type of exercise you do that matters. In a clinical review of exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation programs, researchers concluded consistency is most important. The main focus of your cardiac rehabilitation exercise plan should be creating a program you can maintain. (Read this if you are thinking, “I hate exercise”). Expert cardiac rehabilitation exercise therapists can help you design a program that not only fits your lifestyle, but involves activities that get you excited to get moving!

You can achieve an even greater outcome when your cardiac rehabilitation plan also includes healthier food choices and a positive mindset. While traditional cardiac rehab programs focus solely on exercise, the Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation program is a three-pronged approach: a healthy eating plan, a positive mindset and an exercise program. For over four decades, Pritikin’s renowned experts have helped thousands worldwide. The success of Pritikin’s heart-healthy lifestyle approach has been supported by over 100 research studies, including patients after an acute myocardial infarction. Scientists at the University of Washington found patients given an intensive dietary education (similar to the education received at the Pritikin Longevity Center slashed their risk of cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and deaths, by two-thirds compared to patients given minimal care (one visit from a dietician).

If you have had an acute myocardial infarction, or been diagnosed with heart disease, check out the Pritikin ICR program. It is available at the Pritikin Center in Miami, Florida and in 50 hospitals nationwide. Of note, Medicare reimburses for Pritikin ICR for qualifying individuals.

Which participants qualify for Medicare reimbursement of ICR?

Qualifying conditions for ICR are the same as those for traditional cardiac rehab. If you have experienced one or more of the following events, and if you have not received Medicare-reimbursed cardiac rehab after your most recent event, you qualify for Medicare reimbursement of ICR.

  • Acute myocardial infarction (within the preceding 12 months only)
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery (no time limit)
  • Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty or stenting procedure (no time limit)
  • Current stable angina pectoris (no time limit)
  • Heart or heart-lung transplant (no time limit)
  • Heart valve repair or replacement (no time limit)
  • Chronic Heart Failure, known as CHF has the same limitations as traditional cardiac rehab. This means that not all CHF patients will qualify for reimbursement

Learn to feel better and live better with the right foods and exercise. It’s all part of Pritikin’s Medicare-covered, Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation Program.

Learn More About Pritikin ICR


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