What is a Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)?

A heart attack occurs when blood is prevented from reaching the heart, usually due to a clot. This causes parts of your heart, which is a muscle, to die. the longer this goes untreated, the more damage is done.

What Are Considered Heart Attack Risk Factors?

  • Family history of premature CAD
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • High LDL
  • Low HDL
  • Hypertension
  • Tobacco use
  • Obesity
  • Peripheral Artery Disease
  • Symptomatic Carotid Arterial Disease

However, there are several lifestyle modifications that you can make that will reduce your chances of causing further heart damage. These changes include:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Eating a diet that is low in saturated fat and high in fiber
  • Exercising regularly
  • Losing weight if you are overweight or obese

In men, the risk of a heart attack increases after the age of 45. In women, heart attacks are more likely to occur after menopause, usually about the age of 50. If you feel you are at risk for a heart attack, see a health care provider and/or a cardiologist to find out how you can reduce your personal risk of a heart attack. you can call the following number to help find a specialist, or to find out more information regarding heart attacks.

Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attacks

There are many different signs and symptoms of a heart attack, and not every person has all of them or the same signs. Men and women often display different symptoms. Some of the more common symptoms of a heart attack include, but are not limited to:

  • Chest Discomfort- this can include any kind of uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain that lasts for more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back.
  • Discomfort in the Upper Body- this can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Indigestion or gastric fullness that is not relieved by antacids.
  • Other signs can include cold sweats, nausea, or becoming suddenly light-headed.

What To Do

  • Call 911 Immediately
  • Never drive yourself to the hospital
  • Ask to be taken to an Accredited Chest Pain Center, like Northside Hospital

For more information about heart attack warning signs, please call Consult-a-Nurse, our free community service designed to help you find the answers to your health questions: 1-888-598-9586.