Stress and
lifestyle diseases
often put people at the risk of heart attacks. What are
popularly called heart attacks are known medically as myocardial infarction. According
to the Cleveland clinic, a myocardial infarction is a medical emergency where
one’s heart muscle begins to die because of reduced blood flow. If the blood
flow is not restored quickly, a heart attack has the potential to cause
permanent heart damage and can even be fatal.

What causes a
myocardial infarction?

A myocardial
infarction is caused by blockage of one of the blood vessels that supply blood
into the heart. This mostly happens when the build-up of plaque, a sticky
substance that can build up on the insides of arteries, causes a blockage. The
blockage is similar to how a kitchen sink gets blocked on account of particles
building up inside it. The build up process is called atherosclerosis.

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There are times
when plaque deposits inside the heart’s arteries, called coronary arteries, rupture
and a blood clot can get stuck where the rupture happened. The clot may block
the artery that may stop the supply of blood to the heart. While heart attacks
can also be caused without a blockage, such attacks are rare and only form around
5% of the total cases reported.

Who is at
risk of a heart attack?

The risk of heart
attack depends on several factors. These include: age and sex, genetic factors,
lifestyle. Men above the age of 45 are at a higher risk of heart attack while
women over age of 50 or after menopause are at a high risk. People with a
family history of heart attack or heart disease are at greater risk.

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Lifestyle choices
a person makes also makes them more or less susceptible to heart attacks. Obesity
is one such cause. People with diets rich in sodium, potassium, sugar and fat
put them in greater risk of heart attack. Alcohol consumption and smoking or
consumption of chewing tobacco can also raise the risk of heart attack.

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Symptoms of
heart attack

The primary
symptoms of heart attack are: chest pain, shortness of breath or trouble
breathing, nausea or stomach discomfort, heart palpitations, anxiety, sweating
or an agitated feeling.