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Heart Attack : Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Risk factors

Heart Attack tends to occur as the blood flow to our heart gets blocked which is often a result of fat build-up along with cholesterol and similar substances. Plague blocks the arteries which bring the blood to the heart while interrupting the blood flow and thus damaging the heart muscles. Also known as myocardial infarction, heart attack can be a fatal ailment. With recent changes in the technology, one can effectively survive and reduce the chances of a heart attack.

Heart Attack - Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Risk factors


For any common heart attack, you can see a variety of symptoms which include:

  • Tightness, pain, pressure or intense feeling of someone squeezing the chest with an aching sensation that radiates to the arms while slowly spreading along your jaw, neck and back.
  • Heartburn, indigestion, abdominal pain or nausea.
  • Shortness in breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Cold sweat
  • Sudden dizziness or feeling of being light-headed.

The symptoms of heart attack may vary from one person to another. If you observe any one of the above symptoms it is a good idea to immediately consult your doctor and treat the cause. Some people experience an intense pain while others feel mild pain. There have been instances when people don’t even see the symptoms leading to a sudden heart attack.


Heart attack is a resultant of blockage seen in the coronary arteries. This occurs when various substances buildup in the coronary artery with time and narrow down the shape of the artery leading to a blockage. This happens when cholesterol or fat builds up in the arteries leading to a condition known as atherosclerosis. The condition affecting the coronary artery is a major contributor to a large faction of heart attacks that ail the humans.

When heart attack occurs, one of the arteries with plague might rupture while spilling all those cholesterol along with other substances inside the bloodstream. This leads to a blood clot in the place where rupture has occurred. For a large blood clot, there could be complete blockage of the blood flow in the coronary artery.

Another major cause for heart attack is the spasm that occurs in the coronary artery while shutting down the blood flow to a section of heart’s muscles. Use of illicit drugs or tobacco can lead to such spasms that is life threatening. Another reason for heart attack is tearing in the artery located in the heart known as spontaneous coronary artery dissection.

Also See : Coronary Heart Disease – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Risk Factors

Risk Factors

There are a number of risk factors that might contribute to an unwanted fatty buildup in the arteries leading to narrowing down of the same throughout the body. This can be changed by removing the risk factors that tend to increase the chances of heart attack.

Major factors include:

  • Age:

Age plays a major role in deciding whether you are vulnerable to heart attack or not. Men above the age of 45 and women above 55 are more likely to be affected by heart attack as compared to the younger generation.

  • Tobacco:

Smoking as well as second hand exposure to smoking for a long term can increase chances for heart attack.

  • High Blood Pressure or Diabetes:

High blood pressure when left untreated over time can damage the arteries which accelerates the occurrence of heart attack. Apart from that, uncontrolled diabetes can also lead to heart attack.

  • High cholesterol in blood or obesity:

If you have been tested with high level of bad cholesterol in the blood, it is highly likely that you might face a heart attack sooner or later. An added instance of obesity increases your chances of being vulnerable to heart diseases along with blockage in arteries.

  • Stress and limited physical activity:

If you have been exposed to stress for a long time, chances are your brain might responds to distress in ways that can actually affect your heart negatively. Low amount of physical activity can further add to the risk factors for heart attack. Good long physical exercise can help in bringing down those harmful calories and reduce the chances of heart attack.

  • Auto-immune disorders:

Conditions like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis as well as other conditions of the auto-immune type can increase the chances of heart attack.

Also See : Difference between Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest


Heart attack is a serious ailment that requires consultation with a good doctor for treatment of the same. It can be treated via several methods which include medications such as aspirin, thrombolytic, anti-platelet agents, blood-thinning medicines, nitroglycerin, beta blockers, pain relievers, and ACE inhibitors.

However, major cases of heart attack might require surgical methods such as:

  • Coronary angioplasty & stenting:

This process uses a thin, long tube inserted in the affected artery to locate the blockages and treat it accordingly. Depending on your issue, your doctor might suggest slow release of a medication to ensure that the artery is open.

  • Bypass Surgery:

Bypass surgery might be initiated immediately after you have heart attack or a week after your heart has recovered from the same. It involves sewing of the arteries of veins back to the position they belong to and restore the blood flow.

Post successful surgery, you need to be monitored in a continuous basis by the doctor to ensure that you are healthy and heal perfectly after the operation.

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About Anirudh Singh

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