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A heart attack (also known as a myocardial infarction) is the death of heart muscle from the sudden blockage of a coronary artery by a blood clot. Heart attack is a leading killer of both men and women. A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a section of heart muscle becomes blocked. If the flow of blood isn't restored quickly, the section of heart muscle becomes damaged from lack of oxygen and begins to die. Heart attacks occur most often as a result of a condition called Coronary Artery Disease (CAD).
Although many people think of heart disease as a man's problem, women can and do get heart disease. In fact, heart disease is the number one killer of women in United States.
Warning signs of a heart attack
The American Heart Association and other medical experts say the body likely will send one or more of these warning signals of a heart attack:
How to avoid having a heart attack
Talk to your family doctor about your specific risk factors for a heart attack and how to reduce your risk. Your doctor may tell you to do the following:
Causes of Heart Attack
The most common cause of heart attack by far is
Other causes of having heart attack are as follows:
Signs & Symptoms of Heart Attack
Heart attack symptoms vary widely. The symptoms you experience may be different from those experienced by a relative or neighbor. For instance, you may have only minor chest pain while someone else has excruciating pain. Many people have permanent heart damage or die because they don't get help immediately. It's important to know the symptoms of a heart attack
Coronary Artery Disease is the major reason people have heart attacks. Prevention is important: two-thirds of women who have a heart attack fail to make a full recovery. In addition, women often have different heart attack symptoms than do men.
The pain may radiate to the left shoulder and arm, right shoulder and arm or both, to the neck or lower jaw or directly to the back into the between the two shoulder blades. Sometimes, no pain may be felt in the chest but only in one of the sites of radiation, i.e., shoulder, arm, neck, jaw or even pit of the stomach. The patient may feel very anxious.
There is usually no pain when the person is at rest. An exercise like brisk walking, running, going uphill, climbing the stairs or doing physical work precipitates the pain if such exertion is undertaken soon after meals. Emotional outbursts, anger, fright, hurry or sexual activity may induce such pain.
Preventions of Heart Attack
You can do nothing about the factors of age, sex and heredity. You cannot help aging; you cannot help being a male if you are one; nor can you choose your parents. All these factors are unmodifiable. But you can certainly modify other factors to your advantage.
Treatment of Heart Attack
The primary goal of treatment is to quickly open the blocked artery and restore blood flow to the heart muscle, a process called reperfusion. Once the artery is open, damage to heart muscle ceases, and the patient becomes pain free.
General treatment measures include the following:
Other Treatment Options:
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This site does not provide medical or any other health care advice, diagnosis or treatment. The site and its services, including the information above, are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before starting any new treatment or making any changes to existing treatment. Do not delay seeking or disregard medical advice based on information on this site.