In recent research news, scientists have discovered a totally and completely new symptom that, ultimately, could be a sign that a heart attack is imminent.
After examining materials that were blocking the coronary arteries of a number of patients, a team of scientists and medical experts at the Michigan State University confirmed that it was cholesterol, which was in the form of crystals.
The researchers found that this particular type of hardened cholesterol was found in over 89 percent of emergency room cases involving heart attack or heart attack-like symptoms.
“In previous studies, we showed that when cholesterol goes from a liquid to a solid or a crystal-like state, it expands in volume; similar to ice and water,” said Dr. George Abela, a professor of medicine at Michigan State University.
“This expansion inside the wall of the artery can tear it down and block blood flow, causing a heart attack or stroke.”
By examining patients in more than 240 emergency rooms across the United States, once a heart attack patient was admitted, the team would suction out the crystals and examine their size and hardness. They discovered that the large clusters of crystals had managed to break through the plaque and the walls of the arteries, even entering the heart itself.
In addition to causing physical damage by tearing through the arteries, the scientists were also able to confirm that these crystals activated the production of inflammation molecules called Interleukin-1 beta, which can inflame and aggravate arteries.
Now, as well as having a better understanding of a key symptom before a heart attack, this research also reinforces the notion that plenty of exercise and good dietary choices have proven the ability to reduce the formation of these crystals in the first place.
According to the NHS, other symptoms of heart attack can include chest pain which radiates from the chest to the jaw, neck, arms and back, shortness of breath, feeling weak and lightheaded, and an overwhelming feeling of anxiety.Related: 11 Foods That Help Unclog Arteries and Prevent Heart Attack