A heart attack is a life-threatening condition. If you think you or anyone else around you is having a heart attack, then you should phone 911 for an ambulance immediately without any delay.

A heart attack happens or occurs when your heart muscle is starved of oxygen-rich blood. This, in turn, causes damage to your heart muscle.

The signs of a heart attack 

The symptoms of the heart attack may vary from one person to another. The most common signs shown are:

chest pain: heaviness, pain, tightness or a burning feeling in your chest

pain in arms, jaw, neck, back or stomach: for some people, the pain or tightness is severe, while for other people it just feels uncomfortable

feeling light-headed

feeling nauseous or vomiting


become short of breath

How is heart attack different from cardiac arrest

A heart attack occurs when there is a sudden loss in the flow of blood to a part of your heart muscle. Most heart attacks are caused due to coronary heart disease.

Whereas a cardiac arrest happens when the heart stops pumping the blood around your body. Although in some cases a heart attack can result in a cardiac arrest, but they are two different things in general.

Someone who has had a cardiac arrest will not be conscious and won’t be able to breathe normally. So if you see a person having a cardiac arrest, then you can increase the chances of survival of that person by calling 911(or an ambulance) and giving them an immediate CPR.

Causes a heart attack

Most heart attacks happen due to coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease (or CHD) is a condition when your coronary arteries (they are the arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle) become narrowed or blocked by a gradual building up of fatty material or cholesterol within their walls.

If by any chance a piece of this fatty material (or atheroma) breaks off it may cause a blood to form a clot (or blockage). If this blocks your coronary artery, in turn, cutting off the supply of oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle, then this condition is a heart attack.

You might also hear a heart attack being called as an acute coronary syndrome or myocardial infarction (MI) or coronary thrombosis.

Some other rarer causes of a heart attack include Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD) where one or more than one of the coronary arteries tear. 

Heart attack prevention

Living a healthy and a balanced lifestyle can help you in preventing to develop coronary heart disease and having a heart attack problem.

If you have already had a heart attack then you can dramatically reduce the risk and chances of having another heart attack and future heart problems by taking your medicines and keeping your heart healthy.

If you're over 40 years of age then you should ask your doctor or the nurse for a full heart health check to assess and check your risk of having a heart attack in near future.

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