What Kind of Heart Attack Did Your Parent Have?

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Learning that your elderly parent has had a heart attack can be overwhelming. You may have many questions. However, you may not even know all of the questions you need to ask. One of those questions is concerning the type of heart attack your parent had. In fact, many people aren’t even aware there are different kinds of heart attacks.

Heart Attack Basics

The heart is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body, but it also needs blood to function properly. A heart attack happens when one of the arteries that delivers blood to the heart is blocked, reducing or shutting off blood flow.

Arteries become blocked when plaques comprised of fat, cholesterol, and other things collect on artery walls. The plaques eventually begin to release platelets. Platelets help the blood to clot when a person gets a wound. However, when blood clots form in the arteries, they block blood flow. Without enough blood, heart tissue becomes damaged. When the tissue is damaged, it causes a heart attack.

Kinds of Heart Attack

There are three main kinds of heart attack. They are named after the changes a doctor sees on the EKG. The three kinds of heart attack are:

STEMI: This is considered the “classic” kind of heart attack. It causes pain in the middle of the chest that is often described as pressure. Pain may also occur in the back, neck, jaw, or arm(s). The senior might also have nausea, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and cold sweats.

NSTEMI: This kind of heart attack happens when an artery is only partly blocked. An NSTEMI heart attack isn’t as serious as a STEMI, but it can still result in permanent damage to the heart.

CAS: CAS stands for coronary artery syndrome. You may also hear them referred to as “silent heart attacks” or unstable angina. They happen when arteries spasm, which reduces blood flow to the heart. Although they don’t result in lasting damage, they can be a sign that a more severe heart attack is coming.

Regardless of the kind of heart attack your parent had, home care can help to care for them afterward. A home care provider can remind them to take medications and drive them to cardiac rehab appointments. Home care providers can also help with tasks around the house, like vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, and doing laundry. And, since a healthy diet is extremely important following a heart attack, a home care provider can also prepare balanced meals that support better heart health.


If you or an aging loved one is considering home care in Sterling, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 782-3655.