Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction) – Symptoms and Causes

Heart attack or myocardial infarction occurs because of the blockage of arteries supplying blood to the heart tissues. As a result,cardiac muscles begin to die due to oxygen and nutrient deprivation. Heart attacks also called as myocardial infarctions are very common in the United States. In fact, it is approximated that one happens every 40 seconds.

Some people who are having a heart attack have warning signs, while others show no signs. Some symptoms that many people account are:

  • chest pain
  • upper body pain
  • sweating
  • nausea
  • arrhythmia
  • fatigue
  • difficulty in breathing

A heart attack is a serious medical emergency. Look up for immediate medical attention if you or your known experiencing symptoms that could be a sign of a heart attack.


There are a few cardiac conditions that can contribute to heart attacks. One of the most common causes is plaque deposition in the arteries (atherosclerosis) that blocks them and prevents blood from getting to the heart muscle.

Heart attacks can also be caused by blood clots or a ruptured blood vessel. Less commonly, a heart attack is caused by a blood vessel spasm.


Symptoms for a heart attack may include:

There are many symptoms that can occur during a heart attack, and symptoms can vary between men and women.

Risk factors

There are lots of factors causing risk for a heart attack. Some factors are unchangeable like age and family history. Other factors, called as modifiable risk factors, are ones you can change.

Risk factors that can’t be changed are:

  • Age. If you are more than 65 years of age, your risk for having a heart attack is larger.
  • Sex. Men are at greater risk than women.
  • Family history. If you have a family history of heart disease, hypertention, obesity, or diabetes, you’re more at risk.
  • Race. People of African descent are at higher risk.

Modifiable risk factors which can be changed are:


A diagnosis of a heart attack is made by a doctor after they perform a physical exam and watch your medical history. Your doctor will probably conduct an electrocardiogram (ECG) to view your heart’s electrical activity.

They should also take your blood sample or do other tests to see if there is a indication of heart muscle damage.

Tests and Treatment

If your doctor diagnoses a heart attack, they’ll use a variety of tests and treatments, on the basis of cause.

Your doctor may arrange a cardiac catheterization. This is a probe that is inserted into your blood vessels through a thin flexible tube called as catheter. It allows your doctor to examine the areas where plaque may have formed. Your doctor can also inject dye into your arteries through that tube and take an X-ray to see the movement of blood flow, as well as view any blockages.

If you’ve had a heart attack, your doctor may suggest a procedure (surgical or nonsurgical). Procedures can relieve pain and help prevent further heart attack.

Common procedures include:

  • Angioplasty. An angioplasty opens the blockage of artery by using a balloon or by removing the plaque deposition.
  • Stent. stent is a tube of wire mesh that is inserted into the blocked artery to keep it open after angioplasty.
  • Heart bypass surgery. In bypass surgery, your doctor makes another root for passase of blood around the blockage.
  • Heart valve surgery. In valve replacement surgery, your leaky or faulty valves are replaced to help the heart pump.
  • Pacemaker. pacemaker is a device implanted under the skin. It is made to help your heart for maintaining a normal rhythm.
  • Heart transplant. transplant is performed in severe cases where the heart attack has caused permanent and severe tissue damage to most of the heart.

Your doctor may also prescribe medications to treat your heart attack, which are:

Doctors who treat heart attacks

Since heart attacks are often unpredictable, an emergency room doctor is generally the first to treat them. After the person is stable, they’re transferred to a heart specialist or cardiologist.

Alternative treatments

Alternative treatments and healthy lifestyle can improve your heart health and decrease your risk of a heart attack. A healthy diet and lifestyle are very essential for maintaining health of the heart.


Several complications are related with heart attacks. When a heart attack occurs, it can distur normal rhythm of your heart possibly stopping it altogether. These irregular rhythms are called as arrhythmias.

When your heart stops getting blood supply during the heart attack, some of the tissues can die. This can weaken the heart and later cause dangerous conditions like heart failure.

Heart attacks can also affect your heart valves and make them leaky.If you receive late treatment, damaged area of heart will decide long-term effects on the heart.


While there are many risk factors that are not under your control, there are still some primary steps you can follow to keep your heart healthy. Smoking is a leading cause of heart disease. Control on smoking can reduce your risk. Maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercising, and limiting your alcohol consumption are other necessary ways to lower your risk.

If you have diabetic, be sure to take your medications and check your blood glucose levels regularly. If you have a heart condition, consult your doctor and follow your medication. Talk to your doctor if you have any trouble about your risk of a heart attack.

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