Heart attack, or myocardial infarctions as they are commonly referred to by doctors, occur when blood flow to a part of the heart that is blocked for an extended period of time leading to the damage or death of tissues in that area which can lead to the heart muscles getting damaged and dying. And that is what causes heart attacks.
The main cause of heart attacks is the blockage of the coronary arteries that deliver blood to the heart. This blockage is caused mainly by the buildup of a substance called plaque which is mainly made up of cholesterol and other cells along the walls of the arteries stopping the flow of blood to the muscles starving them of oxygen and causing them to die. The actual causes of heart attacks are not well known, but they can be triggered by heavy physical activity, being active outside in the cold weather or by severe emotional and physical stress.
One contributing factor for heart attacks is coronary heart disease. This is governed by your heart disease risk factor. These are habits or conditions that increase your risk of getting coronary heart disease and these factors also increase the risk of coronary heart disease worsening.
The main heart disease risk factors are high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, smoking, unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity. Any one of or any combination of these factors greatly increases your likelihood of getting coronary heart disease.
Heart problems are another factor that causes heart attacks. These are related to cardiac heart disease. The main one is the clogging of the coronary arteries due to the buildup of plaque.
Heart failure is when the heart stops functioning properly leading to the heart attack. It’s caused when blood flow is restricted to the cardiac muscles; this means the muscles are deprived of oxygen which they need to function. The muscles gradually stop working and may die, this means that the heart can’t pump blood properly and hence causing heart failure.
Heart failure is normally preceded by certain signs that if spotted in time, can be vital in preventing a heart attack. The most common signs are shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing, tightness around the chest, and buildup of fluids in body tissues, dizziness, nausea, fatigue and anxiety. These signs once seen should be acted upon immediately to avert any impending heart attack.
Here are some facts about heart attacks that show how major an issue it is;
In the US in 2008, heart attacks accounted for 616000 deaths, almost 25% of the deaths, making it the leading killer in the US. It accounts for 25.1% of the deaths in whites making it the leading cause of death among white adults and is estimated to cost the US government $108.9 billion in treatment, medication and lost productivity.
Having answered the question what causes heart attacks with these causes and signs of an impending heart attack, one sees the need to change their lifestyle to lower their risk of heart attack and live a healthy productive life.