Heart Attack

Your Care Explained > Conditions and Diagnoses : Heart Attack

A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, occurs when one or more regions of the heart muscle experience a severe or prolonged lack of oxygen caused by blocked blood flow to the heart muscle.

A woman can have a heart attack without crushing chest pain.

Risk Factors for Heart Attack

Symptoms of Heart Attack

The following are the most common symptoms of a heart attack. However, women may have a heart attack without crushing chest pain, and may instead experience more subtle symptoms, such as overall malaise, weakness and shortness of breath. Symptoms may include:

Emergency Treatment for Heart Attack

Although some of the symptoms of heart attack may be confused with those of indigestion, pleurisy, pneumonia or other conditions, it could be fatal to ignore them. If you have the symptoms of heart attack, call 911. The sooner treatment is started, the less damage your heart muscle will suffer.

Once physicians have confirmed that you have had a heart attack, they are likely to perform an emergency coronary catheterization to locate blockages in your coronary arteries, and coronary angioplasty to open up the obstruction to restore blood flow to your heart. Other emergency treatments, which may begin at the site or in the ambulance, include:

Nutrition and Prevention

Reference these links for information on how to prevent heart disease and how to live a healthy lifestyle.

Date Last Modified: January 21, 2011

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