Myocardial infarction

What is Myocardial infarction (Heart attack)?

    A myocardial infarction, commonly known as a heart attack, is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition that occurs due to insufficient blood flow to the heart muscle. This lack of blood flow typically results from a blockage in one or more heart arteries. Without adequate blood supply, the affected heart muscle starts to undergo damage and can eventually die. Prompt intervention is crucial in treating a heart attack, as any delay, even by a few minutes, can lead to permanent heart damage or death. Therefore, recognizing the symptoms and seeking immediate medical attention is paramount in emergencies.

What does it feel like when you are having a heart attack?

    During a heart attack, blood flow to a portion of the heart is either severely reduced or completely blocked, resulting in injury or death of the affected heart muscle. When a heart segment cannot contract due to inadequate blood supply, it can disrupt the heart's overall pumping function. This reduction or cessation of blood flow to the rest of the body can be life-threatening if not promptly addressed.

Causes of heart attack

    The blockage in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis, occurs due to the accumulation of plaque made up of deposits, cholesterol, and other substances. When a plaque ruptures, it triggers the rapid formation of a blood clot, which is the primary cause of a heart attack.

    With the blood and oxygen supply cut off, the muscle cells of the heart start to endure damage and undergo death. Irreversible damage to the heart muscle begins within 30 minutes of the blockage. As a result, the affected heart muscle no longer functions properly due to the lack of oxygen.

Inherited (genetic) factors: Who is most at risk?

    These groups are particularly vulnerable:

  • Individuals with inherited high blood pressure (hypertension).
  • Those with inherited low levels of HDL cholesterol, high levels of LDL cholesterol, or elevated levels of triglycerides.
  • People with a family history of heart disease, especially if it began before the age of 55.
  • Older men and women.
  • Individuals with type 1 diabetes.
  • Women who have undergone menopause, with men generally at higher risk at a younger age, and women equally susceptible after menopause.

Acquired risk factors: Who is most at risk?

    These groups are especially susceptible:

  • People with acquired high blood pressure (hypertension).
  • Those with acquired low levels of HDL cholesterol, high levels of LDL cholesterol, or elevated levels of triglycerides.
  • Cigarette smokers.
  • Individuals under significant stress.
  • Those who consume excessive alcohol.
  • People leading a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Individuals overweight by 30% or more.
  • Those with a diet high in saturated fat.
  • Individuals with type 2 diabetes.

    A heart attack can occur in anyone. By understanding which risk factors pertain to you, you can take proactive measures to eliminate or mitigate them.


    The most common symptoms of a heart attack may vary slightly from person to person, but typically include:

  • Severe pressure, fullness, squeezing, pain, or discomfort in the centre of the chest lasting for more than a few minutes.
  • Pain or discomfort spreading to the shoulders, neck, arms, or jaw.
  • Chest pain worsens over time.
  • Chest pain not improving with rest or nitro-glycerine medication.
  • Chest pain accompanied by:
  • 1. Sweating, cool, clammy skin, or paleness.

    2. Shortness of breath.

    3. Nausea or vomiting.

    4. Dizziness or fainting.

    5. Unexplained weakness or fatigue.

    6. Rapid or irregular pulse.

    While chest pain is a primary warning sign of a heart attack, it may be mistaken for other conditions such as indigestion, pleurisy, pneumonia, costochondritis, or heartburn. It's essential to seek medical attention for a proper diagnosis.

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