A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a part of your heart is blocked for a long enough time that part of the heart muscle is damaged or dies. The medical term for this is myocardial infarction.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Most heart attacks are caused by a blood clot that blocks one of the coronary arteries. The coronary arteries bring blood and oxygen to the heart. If the blood flow is blocked, the heart is starved of oxygen and heart cells die.
A hard substance ... called plaque can build up in the walls of your coronary arteries. This plaque is made up of cholesterol and other cells.
A heart attack may occur when:
Blood platelets stick to tears in the plaque and form a blood clot that blocks blood from flowing to the heart. This is the most common cause of heart attacks.
A slow buildup of this plaque may almost block one of your coronary arteries.
The cause of heart attacks is not always known. Heart attacks may occur:
When you are resting or asleep
After a sudden increase in physical activity
When you are active outside in cold weather
After sudden, severe emotional or physical stress, including an illness
Many risk factors may lead to a heart attack.
A heart attack is a medical emergency. If you have symptoms of a heart attack, call 911 or your local emergency number right away.
DO NOT try to drive yourself to the hospital.
DO NOT WAIT. You are at greatest risk of sudden death in the early hours of a heart attack.
Chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack. You may feel the pain in only one part of your body, or it may move from your chest to your arms, shoulder, neck, teeth, jaw, belly area, or back.
The pain can be severe or mild. It can feel like:
A tight band around the chest
Something heavy sitting on your chest
Squeezing or heavy pressure
The pain usually lasts longer than 20 minutes. Rest and a medicine called nitroglycerin may not completely relieve the pain of a heart attack. Symptoms may also go away and come back.
Other symptoms of a heart attack can include:
Nausea or vomiting
Palpitations (feeling like your heart is beating too fast or irregularly)
Shortness of breath
Sweating, which may be very heavy
Some people (the elderly, people with diabetes, and women) may have little or no chest pain. Or, they may have unusual symptoms (shortness of breath, fatigue, and weakness). A "silent heart attack" is a heart attack with no symptoms. June Bridals wedding collections in light blue
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