Heart Disease: Causes of a Heart Attack

Heart disease refers to conditions that involve the heart, its vessels, muscles, valves, or internal electric pathways responsible for muscular contraction. Common heart disease conditions include:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart failure
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Heart valve disease
  • ArrhythmiasWhen a coronary artery becomes blocked (usually by a blood clot), an area of heart tissue loses its blood supply. This reduction of blood can quickly damage and/or kill heart tissue, so quick treatments in an emergency department and/or catheterization suite are necessary to reduce the loss of heart tissue. Loss of heart tissue due to a blockage can cause symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, and even death. Quick treatments have reduced the number of deaths from heart attacks in recent years; however, about 610,000 people die from heart disease in the US each year (1 in every 4 deaths) according to the CDC.The following are warning signs of a heart attack:
    • Chest pain (may spread to the back, neck, arms and/or jaw)
    • Dizziness
    • Nausea, vomiting
    • Rapid or irregular heartbeats
    • Shortness of breath
    • Some people may exhibit anxiety, indigestion and/or heartburn (some women may present with these as their predominant symptoms instead of chest pain)
    • Weakness

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