What is a Heart Attack

April 12, 2016 3:20 pm Published by

Heart attack


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
  • sweating
  • 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

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