A condition that causes damage to the tissue of the heart when blood flow to this area is interrupted. When oxygen cannot get to the heart muscle, parts of its tissue are damaged or even die off.
A heart attack occurs whenever normal blood flow to the heart muscle is interrupted. This is most commonly caused from blockage of a coronary artery, the blood vessel that supplies the heart with blood and oxygen. Such blockage can stem from a condition called atherosclerosis, a gradual process by which cholesterol plaque is collected in the wall of an artery, as well as from another condition called angina pectoris, pressure occurring within the chest when blood flowing to the heart muscle cannot keep up with the muscle’s needs.
Victims of a heart attack most often feel pain and pressure within their chest, shortness of breath, nausea, loss of consciousness, anxiety, stomach pain and back and shoulder pain.
Although many heart attacks can be fatal, improved awareness and treatments have helped many people to survive serious attacks. Treatments for a heart attack can include prescribing certain medications and clot-dissolving agents to an individual, physical therapy to regain strength and sometimes surgery if several blockages are found. Typical surgical procedures include coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), atherectomy and balloon angioplasty in order to remove any blockage from the artery.