How To Understand Heart Attack?

Heart Attack Signs,Warning of Heart Attack

They say that to be forewarned is to be forearmed, and this is certainly true when it comes to heart health. Knowing why a heart attack happens is one way to ensure that you're able to do all you can to avoid experiencing one. In addition, knowing how to keep your heart healthy will also help you to avoid developing other deadly conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

What is a Heart Attack?

The heart is a muscle that needs its own constant supply of nutrients and oxygen in order to keep it working effectively. Oxygenated blood is delivered to the heart via two large coronary arteries When this flow of blood to the heart is suddenly cut off for a sustained period, a heart attack occurs.

Most heart attacks last for several hours and in some cases there are no symptoms, although most heart attacks generate some degree of chest pain. Other signs of a heart attack include dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea, and fainting. The pain associated with a heart attack — which may be constant or intermittent —maybe felt as a burning, squeezing, or crushing sensation, and may extend to the neck, shoulders, jaw, and one or both arms, although a mild heart attack may be mistaken for heartburn. Women are less likely to experience the classic symptoms of a heart attack and more likely to feel pain high in the abdomen or in the jaw or neck.

Warning Signs

Most heart attack victims are given early warning signs with the onset of angina (myocardial ischemia), a chest pain similar to that experienced during a heart attack. However, during periods of angina, blood flow is quickly restored and the pain recedes within minutes leaving no permanent damage, whereas during a heart attack, blood flood is critically reduced or completely blocked, the pain fails to recede, and without prompt medical treatment the affected part of the heart muscle dies and is replaced by scar tissue.

While most people who experience a heart attack receive a warning in the form of angina, some individuals who suffer a heart attack have no previous signs These individuals often have a condition known as silent ischemia, which involves sporadic interruptions of blood flow to the heart. There is no pain associated with episodes of silent ischemia, although the heart tissue may be damaged as a result. People with diabetes often experience episodes of silent ischemia, as can individuals with angina. According to the American Heart Association, as many as three to four million Americans may have episodes of silent ischemia without knowing it.


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Most heart attacks occur because of coronary artery disease, also known as hardening of the arteries. This condition is the result of plaques building up over time on the inner walls of the coronary arteries. Typically a heart attack is triggered when a section of plaque breaks open causing a blood clot to form which then blocks the blood flowing through the artery.
A less common cause of a heart attack is a tightening of a coronary artery preventing blood flow to the heart. These spasms aren't associated with coronary artery disease but are sometimes linked to emotional stress use of certain drugs (e.g. cocaine), exposure to extreme cold, and cigarette smoking.


About a quarter of all heart attack victims die before reaching hospital. Of those that survive, many experience life-threatening complications including stroke, irregular heart beat (persistent arrhythmia), heart failure, and formation of blood clots in the heart or legs. Those individuals who survive the initial heart attack and avoid developing complications immediately following the episode have a good chance of making a full recovery.

As any heart attack weakens the heart, recovery is a delicate process and one that must be properly managed. However, generally speaking, normal life can be resumed after about three months of a heart attack. Factors such as the severity of the heart attack, how quickly an individual receives medical treatment following an initial attack, and the degree of consequential scarring to the heart can result in certain associated conditions such as heart failure (where the heart fails to pump sufficiently enough to meet the needs of the body), pericarditis (inflammation of the sac that surrounds the heart), abnormal heart rhythms, cardiac arrest, cardiogenic shock, and even death.
Some of the major risk factors associated with coronary artery disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and smoking can all be controlled, as can stress which can also be a contributory factor to developing coronary heart disease Making just a few lifestyle changes can have a huge positive effect on the condition of your heart and help you to live a long and healthy life.