What Happens During a Heart Attack?

Heart, stethoscope and EKG

Heart attacks are a common cause of death in the U.S. among both men and women. Fortunately, the chances of survival are good if a patient calls 911 right away. Any delays in obtaining emergency care at a heart hospital can result in permanent damage to this important organ. Since heart disease is so prevalent in the U.S., you may wish to talk to a physician at your community hospital about your risk factors of a heart attack.

Conditions that May Lead to a Heart Attack

In most cases, a heart attack occurs after years of gradually worsening health. At a heart hospital, many patients discover that they have atherosclerosis, which is a condition that involves the buildup of plaque within the coronary arteries . The coronary arteries are blood vessels that lead to the heart. It is believed that atherosclerosis begins to develop when the arteries sustain damage. High cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, smoking, and diabetes or insulin resistance may cause this damage.

Causes of a Heart Attack

Gradually, the plaque within the coronary arteries begins to harden and narrow the arteries. After years of accumulating within the arteries, an area of the plaque can rupture. This causes a blood clot to form. Depending on the size of this blood clot, it can partially or completely block the coronary artery. This cuts off blood flow to the heart, which causes a heart attack.

Damage Sustained by the Heart Muscle

The longer the blood flow is obstructed, the greater the risk of death to the heart muscle. Once the heart tissue begins to die, it is replaced by scar tissue. Sometimes, this can cause severe, long-term problems if the heart can no longer pump blood efficiently.

MountainView Hospital is dedicated to saving the lives of our neighbors. Not only is our hospital an accredited Chest Pain Center, we also have an exceptional Cardiac Surgery Program and the area’s only on-site Cardiac Rehabilitation program. If you think you’re having a heart attack, please call 911 immediately; otherwise, you can reach our heart hospital in Las Vegas at (702) 233-5474.

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