What is a Heart Attack
April 12, 2016 3:20 pm
A heart attack is life-threatening. If you think you or anyone else is having a heart attack, you should phone 999 for an ambulance immediately.
A heart attack happens when your heart muscle is starved of oxygen-rich blood. This causes damage to your heart muscle.
The signs of a heart attack
Heart attack symptoms vary from one person to another. The most common signs are:
- chest pain: tightness, heaviness or pain in your chest
- pain in arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach: for some people, the pain or tightness is severe, while other people just feel uncomfortable
- feeling light-headed
- become short of breath
- feeling nauseous or vomiting
What is the difference between a heart attack and a cardiac arrest?
A heart attack happens when there is a sudden loss of blood flow to a part of your heart muscle. Most heart attacks are caused by coronary heart disease.
A cardiac arrest happens when your heart stops pumping blood around your body. Although a heart attack can result in a cardiac arrest, they are two different things.
Someone who has had a cardiac arrest will be unconscious and won’t be breathing normally. If you see someone having a cardiac arrest, you can increase the person’s chances of survival by phoning 999 and giving them immediate CPR.
What causes a heart attack?
Most heart attacks are caused by coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease (CHD) is when your coronary arteries (the arteries that supply your heart muscle with oxygen-rich blood) become narrowed by a gradual build-up of fatty material within their walls.
If a piece of this fatty material (atheroma) breaks off it may cause a blood clot (blockage) to form. If it blocks your coronary artery and cuts off the supply of oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle, this is a heart attack.
You might also hear a heart attack called acute coronary syndrome, myocardial infarction (MI) or coronary thrombosis.
Other rarer causes of a heart attack include spontaneous coronary artery dissection(SCAD) where one or more of the coronary arteries tear.
Don’t delay – call 999
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This post was written by First Aid Training Services