Heart Attack

Ibrahim Helmy, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.P.

Cardiologist & Electrophysiologist located in Los Angeles, CA & Torrance, CA

A heart attack is deeply frightening and can drain you both physically and emotionally. At his offices in Los Angeles and Torrance, California, board-certified cardiologist Ibrahim Helmy, MD, FACC, FACP, helps men and women get on the path to recovery following heart attacks and integrate the lifestyle changes necessary to avoid future heart attacks. For help moving forward after a heart attack, call or click to schedule today.

Heart Attack Q & A

What is a heart attack?

When your heart is healthy, the surrounding coronary arteries supply it with a steady flow of blood full of oxygen and nutrients to keep it functioning normally. A heart attack happens when these arteries close or become blocked, preventing the flow of blood to your heart. When the heart doesn’t receive the oxygen it needs, the organ begins to die.

Warning signs of a heart attack include:

  • Chest pain and discomfort, including feelings of pressure, pinching, or fullness
  • Pain in the upper body (arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Cold sweats
  • Nausea or vomiting

A heart attack is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention. If you think you’re having a heart attack, call 911 or have someone drive you to the hospital. Every second counts, and the sooner you get treated, the less damage you sustain to your heart.

If you’ve had a heart attack, Dr. Helmy helps you recover and guides you in preventing future heart attacks.

What causes heart attacks?

Heart attacks usually result from the buildup of plaque, a fatty material that includes excess cholesterol, in the arteries over time. This process is called atherosclerosis. Plaque buildup causes your coronary arteries to narrow and makes blood flow more difficult.

Though this may surprise you, the direct cause of a heart attack isn’t simply plaque accumulating enough to completely block your coronary artery. Rather, heart attacks happen when a plaque bursts, causing a blood clot to form, which in turn blocks the artery.

Risk factors for atherosclerosis include:

  • A family history of heart disease
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Diabetes or insulin resistance
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Unhealthy cholesterol levels (high LDL and low HDL)

Your risk of atherosclerosis resulting in complications increases once you reach middle age.  

Often, heart attacks start suddenly, without prior symptoms. However, many people experience warning signs in the weeks leading up to a heart attack, such as angina, a form of chest pain that results from reduced blood flow to the heart. If you’re concerned about symptoms including chest pain, schedule an appointment with Dr. Helmy at one of his southern California offices right away.

How do I recover from a heart attack?

You may feel scared, angry, and sad if you’ve recently suffered a heart attack. It’s normal to feel that way, and feeling better emotionally is just as important to your recovery as restoring your physical health. Thankfully, Dr. Helmy is experienced in supporting men and women to lead active, happy, healthy lives following heart attacks.

Make sure to see Dr. Helmy as soon as possible after you’re discharged from the hospital. He creates a plan to recover from your heart attack and prevent future heart attacks, which may include medication, a heart-healthy diet, regular physical activity, and stress management. He may also recommend support groups or therapy for coping with difficult emotions.

Dr. Helmy wants you to be able to return to work and your usual activities as soon as possible. He’s happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your recovery.

For help getting your life back after a heart attack, call Dr. Helmy at his office in Los Angeles or Torrance, California, or schedule an appointment online today.