Heart Attacks (Myocardial Infarction)
Your heart muscle needs oxygen to survive. A coronary attack (heart attack) occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. This happens because coronary arteries that supply the heart with blood can slowly become thicker and harder from a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances that together are called plaque. This slow process is known as atherosclerosis. When plaque in a heart artery breaks free, a blood clot forms around the plaque. This blood clot can block the artery and shut off blood flow to the heart muscle. When the heart muscle is starved for oxygen and nutrients, it is called ischemia. When damage or death of part of the heart muscle occurs as a result of ischemia, it is called a heart attack or myocardial infarction (MI). About every 34 seconds, someone in the United States has a myocardial infarction (heart attack).
Every year, tens of thousands of Americans survive a heart attack, go back to work and enjoy a normal life. You have every reason to be confident of a full recovery. Your heart is healing and with each passing day you’ll get stronger and more active.
For additional information visit the American Heart Association website at www.heart.org.