A heart attack, or myocardial infarction (MI), is the most extreme form of heart muscle pain and signals that a portion of your heart is dying. Usually a blockage of fatty deposits, or plaque, in a heart artery reduces or cuts off the blood and oxygen to a certain portion of your heart. Or a small piece of plaque can break off and a blood clot will form around it in the artery, shutting off the blood and oxygen. Either way, without oxygen this portion of your heart muscle begins to die - this is the pain of a heart attack.
To prevent death or severe heart damage, doctors can administer blood thinning or clot-dissolving medicines or perform an angioplasty procedure that removes arterial blockages, among other treatments. Getting to the hospital quickly is the best insurance for staying alive and saving your heart. Also, if experiencing heart attack symptoms, crush or chew a full-strength aspirin (swallow with a glass of water) to prevent further blood clotting.
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I HAVE HEART DISEASE. . . NOW WHAT?