Painful Health Conditions: Heart Attack
A heart attack happens when there is a sudden complete blockage of an artery that supplies blood to an area of your heart.
A heart is a muscle, and it needs a good blood supply to keep it healthy.
As we get older, the smooth inner walls of the arteries that supply the blood to the heart can become damaged and narrow due to the build up of fatty materials, called plaque.
When an area of plaque breaks, blood cells and other parts of the blood stick to the damaged area and form blood clots. A heart attack occurs when a blood clot completely blocks the flow of blood and seriously reduces blood flow to the heart muscle. This also results in patients experiencing chest pain.
As a result, some of the heart muscle starts to die.
The longer the blockage is left untreated, the more the heart muscle is damaged. If the blood flow is not restored quickly, the damage to the heart muscle is permanent.
A heart attack is sometimes called a myocardial infarction (MI), acute myocardial infarction, coronary occlusion or coronary thrombosis.