It actually begins in a simple process, says cardiologist Dr Suresh Venkita.
The heart muscle pumps all the time – from the day it begins in the foetus, it continues beating – day in, day out, with no rest at all.
For this, the heart requires blood to flow continuously through the coronary artery to its muscle.
Two major arteries are responsible for the blood supply to the heart. These coronary arteries are small tubes that carry oxygenated blood from the aorta to the heart muscle.
“With aging and lifestyle diseases such as hypertension and high cholesterol, we begin to form plaques inside these tubes – plaques are small accumulation of fat from cholesterol,” Dr Venkita explains.
As years go by, these plaques build up around the wall, eventually completely blocking the artery. With no blood flow, the heart muscle dies.
That’s when heart attack hits.
Dr Venkita however, says not all chest pains are from the heart.
Pain from the heart comes when you’re physically at work.
When you’re sitting and watching TV or you just had your food and then have a sudden shooting pain in the chest – that’s NOT from the heart.
“Heart gives you adequate warning,” he adds.
When you notice a central pain when you’re walking fast, or rushing to catch your flight, or running up a couple of staircase because the lift is out of service, or walking up a hill, or one day you decide to exercise – that’s the kind of pain that comes from the heart.
When that comes, remember that no drug can fix that. Talk to your doctor.
“The heart is not troubled unless you trouble the heart. Heart disease is a gift of modern times.”