What is a heart attack?

What is a heart attack?

A heart attack is an event in which the heart’s blood supply is suddenly blocked, usually by a clot. It’s also called a myocardial infarction.

What causes a heart attack?

Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of heart attacks: the coronary arteries (major vessels transporting blood to the heart), get obstructed with cholesterol deposits known as plaques. When the plaque bursts, this causes a blood clot. That blocks the blood supply, and that can seriously damage the heart muscle.

How do I know it’s a heart attack?

Don’t take a risk on being unsure: if you’re feeling unwell and think you may be having problems with your heart, dial 999. The sooner you can get medical attention, the greater your chances of survival. Symptoms of a heart attack can vary, but these are the most common causes for concern:

  • feelings of tightness, pain, or heaviness in your chest
  • feeling light-headed or dizzy
  • shortness of breath and nausea

How can I lower my risk of a heart attack?

In the UK, someone dies of a heart attack every six minutes according to the Heart Research Institute. But you can reduce the risk of heart attack by taking some simple steps to improve your lifestyle. Ask yourself:

  • are you a smoker?
  • are you diabetic?
  • do you have high blood pressure?
  • are you overweight or obese?

If the answer is yes, then your risk levels are increased: those are areas of your lifestyle you should tackle soon, to reduce the risks involved.

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