A heart attack, medically known as a myocardial infarction, occurs when the blood flow to a part of the heart muscle is blocked, usually by a blood clot. The lack of blood flow deprives the affected area of oxygen and can cause damage to or death of the heart muscle cells.
The most common cause of a heart attack is the buildup of fatty deposits (plaque) on the walls of coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle. When a plaque ruptures, a blood clot can form and block the flow of blood to the heart muscle, leading to a heart attack.
The symptoms of a heart attack can vary but often include chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, and lightheadedness. Prompt medical attention is crucial in treating a heart attack to minimize damage to the heart muscle.
Risk factors for heart attacks include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and a family history of heart disease. Lifestyle changes, medications, and medical procedures such as angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery are common treatments to reduce the risk of heart attacks and manage heart disease.