A heart attack (also called myocardial infarction) is when part of the heart muscle is damaged or dies because it isn’t receiving oxygen. Oxygen is carried to the heart by the arteries (blood vessels). Most heart attacks are caused by a blockage in these arteries. Usually the blockage is caused by atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of fatty deposits (called plaque) inside the artery. Click here for Signs Of a Heart Attack, Stroke and Cardiac Arrest
Risk factors for a heart attack
- Increasing age–83% of people who die from heart disease are 65 years of age or older
- High cholesterol level
- High blood pressure
- Family history of heart attack
- Race–African Americans, Mexican Americans, Native Americans and Native Hawaiians are at greater risk.
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- Lack of exercise
- Sex–More males have heart attacks, although heart disease is the leading cause of death for American women.