A heart attack or myocardial infarction is a fatal condition caused by decreased or insufficient blood supply to the heart muscle due to a blockage in one or several arteries. In addition, an accumulation of cholesterol or other substances causes obstruction. Plaques are fatty, cholesterol-containing deposits. A plaque may occasionally break, causing a blood clot to develop and obstruct blood flow.
Plaque buildup may prompt the arteries’ walls to become more constricted over time. Atherosclerosis is the term used to describe the buildup of plaque. The damaged heart muscle will start to deteriorate if there is no blood supply. A heart attack can result in permanent cardiac damage and death if blood flow isn’t rapidly restored.
A heart attack can cause chest pain, pain below the breastbone, pressure, heaviness, tightness, and squeezing. Most people also feel pain in their arms, back, jaw, or throat. Other signs include choking, sweating, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme weakness, anxiety, exhaustion, and an irregular or fast heartbeat.
Below are the causes of a heart attack.
Coronary Heart Disease
The most common reason for heart attacks is coronary heart disease (CHD). The condition occurs when the coronary arteries, the primary blood vessels that provide blood to the heart, become blocked with cholesterol deposits (plaques). Plaque ruptures before a heart attack, prompting a blood clot to develop at the location of the rupture. The clot could cut off blood flow to the heart, resulting in a heart attack.
The symptoms of CHD might vary from person to person and develop slowly over time. For example, some people experience a heart attack without being aware that they have CHD. However, the most prevalent symptom of CHD is chest pain (angina). Other symptoms include nausea, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and discomfort that travels throughout the body. The risk of developing the condition increases with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a fatty diet, obesity, and smoking.
If a patient is suspected of having CHD, a doctor may conduct a risk assessment. They will ask about the patient’s lifestyle, family, and medical history. A blood test will be performed, but additional examinations, such as a treadmill test, coronary angiography, MRI scan, and CT scan, may be required to confirm the presence of coronary heart disease.