What is a Heart Attack? Can you prevent one?

A heart attack is a word that is often overused for a lot of things. Mostly the wording works for what is wanted happening and what someone wants to be explained. But, in some cases, it can be very far from the truth.

A heart attack is also called an Acute Myocardial Infarction.  The heart itself doesn’t normally tear, rip, break, or shatter. These are misconceptions.

And please especially remember that heart attacks can happen to both men and women. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is only a man’s disease.

Sometimes the word heart attack is used to describe a sudden cardiac event or death. But in some of these cases, an actual myocardial infarction isn’t what is happening.  Things like a heart arrhythmia or heart failure may have been the real event. Again, the word heart attack is widely used and sometimes it is used inappropriately.

Heart Attack

The key wording here is…”An interruption of the supply of blood to the heart“.

It is usually an interruption that only affects a part of the heart, not the heart entirely.   The interruption is often from a blockage in the vessels that supplies blood to the heart and not the areas of the heart that pushes the blood to the lungs and to the body.

The vessels that are most often associated with an interruption are the Coronary Arteries.

Oxygen Loss

The single key word here is…”Ischemia“.

This is a very important word to understand.  Ischemia means that because blood flow has stopped to an area of the heart, it isn’t getting the required oxygen to function.

If the heart doesn’t receive oxygen for a short amount of time, the heart tissue could be damaged.

If oxygen is absent for longer periods of time, death of the tissue can happen. If tissue death happens, the heart can no longer work and serious consequences ensue.

The Heart is a Muscle

Since the heart is a muscle, it requires a vast amount of energy  and oxygen to work. It really needs both, in proper amounts, to work productively.

Causes of Heart Attacks

The causes are long but most heart attacks are because of only a few reasons.

The key word here is….”Atherosclerosis”.

This means that cholesterol is building up inside an artery, again this is a coronary artery that supplies blood to the heart muscle itself.

The lumen or circular portion of the vessel, becomes blocked because of a build up of cholesterol.  Remember, cholesterol isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But…too much cholesterol can be.

Blood clots, stress, excess physical exertion, severe infections, and more can also be causes.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Chest pain has not purchased sole symptom status for heart attacks. Chest pain can be seen in other conditions, but often heart attacks have chest pain.

Other symptoms may include:

1.)    Difficulty Breathing
2.)    Sweating
3.)    Heart racing
4.)    Anxiety
5.)    Chest pain that can be felt into the back, neck, and/or left arm
6.)    Others

The silent heart attack occurs without chest pain and may occur without any other symptom.

Risk Factors

Several other medical conditions can be a risk factor for heart attacks. As can being overweight, smoking,  alcohol, and stress.

Obesity, elevated blood pressures, diabetes, and elevated cholesterol are all conditions that can increase your risk.

The more risk factors, the more risk.

Of course, being a man alone is more of a risk factor that being female.


The key wording here is….”Diet, exercise and in some cases…medications”.

Improving your diet and watching your cholesterol is a must for most men. Especially those who pass the age of 45.

Attempting to limit or stop smoking and alcohol can dramatically improve your risks.

But, even after all the exercise and dieting, you may still be at risk. Medications can be added to lower your blood pressure and your cholesterol.

If you’ve had a previous heart attack, you may be required to take medications that can help your heart function.

Seeking Medical Treatment

The key wording here is…. “Do it.”

If you are experiencing symptoms, seek medical treatment immediately. But if you are at risk, also seek to talk to a medical professional. You need to better understand your risk factors and where your cholesterol and weight are.

Don’t make the mistake of waiting to see someone after-the-fact.

Remember, a heart attack can happen to the healthiest of us. So, if you are unhealthy, you are already at more of a risk.

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