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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What happens during a heart attack?

what actually occurs in the heart that results in a heart attack? what actually occurs in the heart that results in a heart attack?
Thu, 17 Dec 2009
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Myocardial infarction (heart attack) occurs when not enough blood is supplied to the heart muscle. While the heart pumps blood to the rest of the body, it itself is supplied by blood vessels (coronary arteries). When the blood flow through these vessels is blocked, the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen. If this blockage occurs for too long, the heart muscle will start to die. Imagine if you tied a tight string around finger. After a few minutes, it starts to change color and hurt. If you keep the string on too long, the tissues start to starve and break down. If this continues, the finger would eventually die. The most common reason for a heart attack is due to a sudden blockage of the vessel with a fatty plaque (coronary artery disease). While there are medications and treatments that can reopen the vessel and allow blood to reperfuse the heart, the best treatment is to prevent coronary artery disease (CAD) in the first place. Recommended lifestyle modifications include a proper diet, physical exercise, proper weight, and stop smoking. For more information, see your doctor or visit the American Heart Association website.
Disclaimer: These answers are for your information only and not intended to replace your relationship with your treating physician.
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