Heart Attack What Is a Heart Attack?
A heart attack is a life-threatening medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.
A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, happens when the flow of blood that brings to a part of your heart muscle suddenly becomes blocked. Your heart can’t get enough oxygen. If blood flow is not restored quickly, the heart muscle will begin to die.
Heart attacks are very common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 800,000 people in the United States have a heart attack each year.
A heart attack is not the same as cardiac arrest, which happens when your heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. A heart attack can cause sudden cardiac arrest.
Most heart attacks are caused by coronary artery disease. Your age, lifestyle habits, and other medical conditions can raise your risk of a heart attack. Symptoms of a heart attack include chest and upper body pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, sweatiness, and nausea. Women often experience different symptoms of a heart attack.
If you think you or someone else may be having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 right away. Acting fast can save your life. The longer the heart goes without enough oxygen, the more damage is done to the heart muscle.
Many people survive and live active, full lives after a heart attack. Getting help and treatment quickly can limit the damage to your heart.