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It is important to seek treatment for a heart attack immediately

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Heart Attack

A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, occurs when a section of the heart muscle dies or gets damaged because of reduced blood supply. Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the main cause of heart attack.

It is important to seek treatment for a heart attack immediately. Otherwise, further damage to the heart muscle can occur and an irregular heart rhythm may develop.

Sudden cardiac arrest—the stopping of the heart—occurs when the heart stops completely. Unless treated, a person whose heart has stopped can die within minutes.


People who experience a heart attack need emergency care such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or electrical shock (defibrillation). That's why you need to act quickly once you notice the signs and symptoms of heart attack.

If you think you or someone you know is having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately. People who have been trained to perform CPR or use a defibrillator may be able to help the victim until emergency medical personnel arrive. At the hospital, doctors can perform tests to determine whether a heart attack is occurring and decide on the best treatment.

Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack

The five major symptoms of a heart attack are—

  • Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint.

  • Chest pain or discomfort.

  • Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder.

  • Shortness of breath.

Life After an Attack

If you've had a heart attack, your heart may still be damaged. This could affect your heart's rhythm, pumping action, and blood circulation. You may also be at risk for another heart attack or conditions such as stroke, kidney disorders, and peripheral arterial disease. But, there are steps you can take to lower your chances of having future health problems.

Your doctor may recommend cardiac rehabilitation, which is a program that can help you make lifestyle changes to improve your heart health and quality of life. These changes may include taking medication, changing what you eat, increasing your physical activity, stopping smoking, and managing stress. Also, be sure to talk with your doctor about everyday activities. He or she may want you to limit work, travel, sex, or exercise.

Risk Factors for Heart Attack

Ways to Prevent an Attack

Live a Healthy Lifestyle

  • Eat a balanced diet – Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

  • Maintain a healthy weight - Being overweight or obese increases your risk of heart disease.

  • Exercise regularly – Staying fit can lower your weigh and maintain your cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

  • Don’t smoke - Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease.

  • Limit alcohol use – Drinking alcohol raises your blood pressure, which is a risk for heart disease.

If you think that you or someone you know is having a heart attack, you should call 9–1–1 immediately.
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