Heart Attack Symptoms

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Heart Attack Symptoms

Heart attack is the leading cause of death in America for both men and women. However, many people to not survive a heart attack because they choose to ignore heart attack symptoms in hopes they will go away.

Heart attacks occur when the blood supply to a part of the heart is diminished or completely stopped due to a blockage in the heart’s arteries causing a blood clot to form. This may result in the total stoppage of blood supply to the coronary arteries resulting in death of heart muscle, a heart attack. A heart attack is also called a myocardial infarction (MI) and can give permanent damage to the heart muscle. The extent of the damage to the heart muscle depends on the extent of the area supplied by the blocked artery and how soon medical help is received. Generally if medical attention is not sought promptly irreversible damage occurs.

The most common cause of heart attack is coronary artery disease also called coronary heart disease (CHD) which is a condition where plaque builds up with the arteries called atherosclerosis. In time the plaque buildup may break within the artery causing a blood clot to form on its surface. The clot, if big enough can almost or totally block the flow of blood through the artery and if the blockage is not treated promptly the area of the heart that is supplied by the artery begins to die. Another cause is coronary artery spasms that cut off blood supply through the affected artery. Heart attacks can lead to serious health problems like arrhythmias or heart failure which is why it is important to know what heart attack symptoms you should look out for.

The most common of the heart attack symptoms is angina which is chest pain or discomfort, burning, uncomfortable pressure or heaviness that is experienced in the centre or left side of the chest that is often mistaken for heartburn or indigestion.

Angina, can also be experienced in the arms, back, neck or throat and can last more than a few minutes, go away and then come back. Shortness of breath may also accompany the chest pain but may also occur before it. You could also experience nausea, vomiting, sudden dizziness or light-headedness as well as breaking out in a cold sweat. Other heart attack symptoms could include insomnia, lack of energy and fatigue.

It is however important to note that heart attack warning signs are not always sudden or intense and vary from person to person. Some people may experience only one symptom while others may experience a combination.

Heart attack symptoms in women and the elderly can be so vague and atypical that they are often missed or ignored. Quick action at the start of the first heart attack symptoms may save your life and limit the extent of the damage to your heart muscle, so you should head for the emergency room at any first signs.

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