What is a Heart Attack?
What really happens during a heart attack?
What is a heart attack, exactly?
Every 34 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a heart attack. Women account for nearly half of all heart attack deaths. Over a life time, heart disease kills five times as many women as breast cancer.
But what is a heart attack, exactly?
A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, occurs when blood flow to the heart is interrupted, usually due to a blood clot blocking blood flow in a coronary artery, one of the blood vessels that feeds blood to a part of the heart muscle. This blockage causes the heart muscle to be starved for oxygen and nutrients. When damage or death of part of the heart muscle occurs, a heart attack, or myocardial infarction, occurs.
It's no secret that heart attacks can be fatal. However, every year, thousands of Americans survive heart attacks and go on to enjoy their lives. Learn about symptoms, risk factors, and lifestyle choices you can make now to reduce your heart attack risk.
Helpful terms to know
Atherosclerosis: when coronary arteries that supply the heart muscle with blood become narrow over time due to a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances that together are called plaque.
Ischemia: when the heart muscle is starved for oxygen and nutrients.