What Is a Heart Attack?



What Is a Heart Attack? - Symptoms




A heart attack, occurs when a blood clot blocks one of the coronary arteries. Each coronary artery supplies blood to a specific part of the heart's muscular wall, so a blocked artery causes pain and malfunction in the area it

supplies. Depending on the location and the amount of heart muscle involved, this blockage can seriously interfere with the heart's ability to pump blood. Also, some of the coronary arteries supply areas of the heart that regulate the heartbeat, so a blockage sometimes causes potentially fatal abnormal heartbeats called cardiac arrhythmias.

What Is a Heart Attack? - Symptoms

People are familiar with the classic symptoms of a heart attack: crushing chest pressure; pain radiating to the neck, jaw, back, or arm; sweating and shortness of breath; sudden "indigestion" that isn't relieved by antacids. If you experience these symptoms or others that indicate you might be having a heart attack, call your doctor immediately and go to the nearest emergency room. Take an aspirin on the way to help reduce your blood's tendency to clot.


What Is a Heart Attack? - Symptoms and Studies

Act quickly, every second counts. In one landmark study, people who received treatment within one to two hours were only half as likely to die as those who were treated four to six hours after the onset of symptoms. The primary goal in treating a heart attack is to unblock the artery and restore blood flow to the heart as fast as possible with medication or surgery. Doing so will minimize the damage to the heart tissue.


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