How to Understand and Prevent Heart Attacks

Heart attackMr. King was having a regular day at work. He had just walked up several flights of stairs to a meeting. He noticed he was more out of breath than usual, but thought it was due to his lack of recent exercise. When he got to the meeting room he noticed he was sweating profusely, and felt a strong pain in his chest that radiated down his arms and back. One of his coworkers recognized the symptoms of a heart attack and called 911. Mr. King was immediately rushed to the emergency room.

In the emergency room, Mr. King learned he had a heart attack. He now wants to better understand heart attacks, review symptoms and learn prevention techniques.

A heart attack occurs when blood cannot flow through one or more of the coronary arteries, which supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle. When this happens, the heart does not receive sufficient amounts of oxygen and nutrients and the heart tissue dies, causing a heart attack. Here is a helpful video animation on how a heart attack happens.

If you or any one you know has symptoms of a heart attack call 911 because immediate treatment can save your life and limit the damage to your heart. Call an ambulance so treatment can begin on the way to the hospital.

To decrease your risk of a heart attack, make sure other conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are under control, and adopt a heart healthy lifestyle:

  • Stop smoking
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Reduce stress

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