A heart attack occurs when the flow of blood can't get to a portion of the heart. This means that the heart is unable to get sufficient oxygen. If the blood flow is not rapidly corrected, that part of the heart will start to die. Sometimes a heart attack is referred to as a myocardial infarction or as coronary thrombosis, as well.
People have heart attacks because of blood clots that cause blockage in a coronary artery in most cases. If the blood can't get to that portion of the heart, oxygen depletion begins and cell death can start quickly. Coronary Heart Disease is the underlying reason for many heart attacks. This disease causes the coronary arteries to narrow and start to harden as plaque accumulates within those arteries. With the artery passageways compromised and unable to conduct blood as normal, a heart attack can occur.
A heart attack is usually most easily recognized by the chest pain that comes with it. In a heart attack, the chest pain will be consistently in the same area and it will be persistent. Usually, people have pain on the left side of their chest, but the pain can also be concentrated in the middle of the chest. The pain often lasts for several minutes at a minimum, or it may come and go for a long period of time. Some people describe a feeling of pressure, a squeezing feeling, or acute pain. A heart attack can also feel like something more minor, for example, it is sometimes confused with indigestion or heartburn. Sometimes the pain will also occur in one of the arms, in the neck, in the back, or high in the abdominal area. It is also quite common for heart attack victims to feel shortness of breath along with the chest pain. Any heart attack symptoms should be taken seriously and attended to right away.
At Internal Medicine & Family Practice, we accept most major medical insurance plans. Here is a short list of just some of the most popular plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.