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Heart Attack

A heart attack occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood is suddenly blocked to a section of heart muscle and if the flow isn't restored quickly that section of heart muscle begins to die. A heart attack also known as myocardial infarction, can be fatal because people confuse their symptoms with a minor illness, like indigestion, and postpone going to the hospital. Healthy diet, exercise and the way you deal with stress plays an important role in your recovery from a heart attack.

The causes for Heart Attack are

  • Coronary Heart Disease: A heart attack occurs as a result of coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary artery disease. In this condition a waxy substance called plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries causing the arteries to narrow. An area of plaque can rupture inside of an artery causing a blood clot to form on the plaque's surface. When the clot becomes large it mostly or completely blocks off the flow of blood through coronary artery leading to a heart attack.
  • Coronary Artery Spasm: It is a less common cause of heart attack. In this condition a severe spasm or tightening of a coronary artery cuts off blood flow through the artery. These spasms happen in the coronary arteries that are or aren't affected by atherosclerosis.

Symptoms linked with a heart attack are

  • Pain in the chest which continue for more than a few minutes.
  • Pain that progresses beyond the chest to the shoulder, arm and back.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating, nausea, vomiting, or dizziness
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeats
  • Heartburn or abdominal pain

The heart attack treatment varies depending on the situation


  • Aspirin: It reduces the chances of a blood clot thus help prevent obstruction of the coronary arteries. Aspirin can help prevent future attacks if you have already had one.
  • Thrombolytics: Also called clotbusters, they help dissolve blood clot that's blocking blood flow to the heart.
  • Nitroglycerin: This medication, used to treat chest pain, opens arterial blood vessels thus improving blood flow to and from the heart.
  • Beta blockers: They decrease your blood pressure by slowing the heart rate

Surgical procedures

  • Coronary angioplasty and stenting: This procedure opens blocked coronary arteries allowing the blood flow more freely to the heart. A catheter with a special balloon is inserted through an artery, usually in the leg or groin, to a blocked artery in the heart. Once in position, the balloon is inflated which helps in opening up a blocked coronary artery. At the same time, a metal mesh stent is inserted into the artery to keep it open for a longer period of time and thus restoring blood flow to the heart.
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery: In this procedure a graft is created to bypass blocked coronary arteries using a vessel from another part of the body. This allows blood to flow around the blocked or narrowed coronary artery.