A blocked coronary artery – blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart muscle – is to blame for a deadly heart attack. Can toothache be a warning sign of this condition?
According to Medicine Net, toothache is certainly an indicator of heart attack.
Other bizarre signs can include pain in the arm, pain in the upper back, malaise and vomiting.
The most common feeling of heart attack is pain, fullness and / or tightness in the chest, and the pain can radiate to the jaw or other parts of the body.
When the heart runs out of blood and oxygen, the heart muscle is injured – causing pain and pressure in the chest.
If blood flow to the heart muscle is not restored in 20 to 40 minutes, irreversible death of the heart muscle will begin.
The heart muscle continues to die for six to eight hours, when it is then replaced by scar tissue.
Keep in mind that heart attacks that do not produce symptoms (or mild symptoms) can be as fatal as heart attacks that cause severe chest pain.
READ MORE: The ‘first warning’ sign of a heart attack can involve an activity – what to look for
Risk factors for a heart attack include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, tobacco use, diabetes and family history of coronary heart disease.
High cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis, whereby the cholesterol plaque hardens the arterial walls and narrows the passage of blood.
The arteries narrowed by this process (atherosclerosis) cannot supply enough blood to maintain the normal function of the parts of the body they supply.
This can begin in someone’s adolescence, with health problems not manifesting later in adulthood.
Coronary atherosclerosis – known as coronary heart disease – affects the heart muscle.
Coronary heart disease includes heart attacks, angina, abnormal heart rhythms and heart failure.
Diagnosing a heart attack
The diagnosis can become problematic when there is no chest pain to report, as the necessary tests can be neglected.
A mandatory test is an electrocardiogram (ECG), which records the electrical activity of the heart.
Abnormalities in the electrical activity of the heart usually occur with heart attacks.
An ECG can identify areas of the heart muscle deprived of oxygen and any scar tissue.
Blood tests can also be done to diagnose a heart attack, as dying heart muscles release cardiac enzymes into the bloodstream.
These cardiac enzymes are known as “creatine phosphokinase (CPK), special subfractions of CPK (specifically, the MB fraction of CPK) and troponin”.