What Causes Heart Attacks?

Heart attacks are one of the major instant killer diseases. But what causes it and how can they be prevented?

It happens when the supply of blood and oxygen in an area of the heart is blocked, typically due to blockage and a clot in the coronary artery. If the blockage is left untreated for a few hours, the affected area of the heart can die and lead to detrimental effects.

As is obvious in the definition, it is life threatening. More than a million people in the USA alone suffer from a heart attack every year, and about half of these patients don't survive. Heart attack is medically known as acute myocardial infarction (AMI), myocardial infarction (MI), coronary thrombosis, coronary occlusion or acute coronary syndrome.

Heart Attack Causes

It happen because of a blood clot impedes the proper flow of blood in the coronary arteries. When the blood becomes unable to reach the area of the heart where it is needed, the area becomes starved from oxygen and will not function properly. If the blockage persists, the cells in the said area can die.

Coronary Artery Disease or CAD is the underlying cause of most heart attacks. This condition is characterized by the narrowing down of arteries coupled with the build-up of plaque deposits on the arterial walls (a condition called atherosclerosis). When the arteries narrow down, blood flow to the heart is reduced. This condition can progress to completely block the artery and the flow of blood altogether.

Some of it can be caused by severe tightening and spasms of the coronary artery, which can also temporarily cut off flow of blood to the heart. These spasms can be caused by:

(1) Emotional stress,

(2) Intake of certain drugs (usually the illegal substances),

(3) Exposure to extremely low temperatures and

(4) Cigarette smoking.

Risk Factors of Heart Attack

There are certain factors, which can make one more likely to develop arterial blockages and blood clots. Risk factors can include:

- Your age. Men over 45 and women over 55 are more likely to develop CAD

- Family history or genetics. You have increased risk if heart disease was diagnosed in an immediate family member who is 55 or younger.

- Personal history. If you are diagnosed to have angina or if you have had a previous heart attack or underwent surgical heart procedure, you are at a higher risk of having a heart attack (again).

You are also more likely to have a heart attack if you are overweight, a smoker, or physically inactive, and if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, or diabetes.

Blockage of arteries and blood clots that impede proper blood flow from the heart is what causes heart attacks.

There are ways of preventing heart attacks - and you can take steps starting today by talking to your doctor, leading a healthier lifestyle, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy, balanced diet everyday.

Also talk to your doctor about adding a daily fish oil pill to your balanced diet. Chances are, you don't eat fish on any kind of regular basis and it is lacking in your current diet. Taking fish oil supplements may help remedy this un-balanced part of your heart-smart diet plan.