What is a heart attack?
A heart attack (myocardial infarction) occurs when blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked, usually by a blood clot lodged in one of the coronary arteries. As a result, part of the heart muscle is damaged or dies.
What are the symptoms of a heart attack?
The most common symptom is chest pain that feels like a tight band around the chest. The pain can move to the arms, shoulders, neck, teeth, jaw, abdomen or back. It can be severe or mild. In some cases, the pain feels like bad indigestion, but it also may feel as if something heavy is sitting on the chest, like the chest is being squeezed, or like heavy pressure is being applied. Typically, the pain lasts longer than 20 minutes and isn’t relieved by rest or by taking nitroglycerin, a medication which may have been prescribed for angina, a classic symptom of cardiovascular disease that sometimes predicts heart attacks. Heart attack pain may ease and then return. Other symptoms can include anxiety, cough, fainting, lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, palpitations (the heart seems to be beating too fast), shortness of breath and/or heavy sweating.