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Heart attack

Heart attack

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A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, occurs when a blockage in one or more arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle. This can cause damage to the heart muscle, which can be life-threatening.

The most common cause of a heart attack is a buildup of cholesterol and other substances, called plaque, in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. A blood clot can form when the plaque ruptures or breaks open, blocking the artery and causing a heart attack.

The symptoms of a heart attack can vary but often include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort, which may feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain
  • Pain or discomfort in the arms, neck, jaw, shoulder, or back
  • Shortness of breath, sweating, lightheadedness, or nausea

It is important to note that not everyone who experiences a heart attack will have all of these symptoms, and some people may not have any symptoms at all. Women, older adults, and individuals with diabetes may be more likely to have atypical symptoms or no symptoms.

If you or someone you know is experiencing heart attack symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Treatment for a heart attack may include medications to dissolve the blood clot, restore blood flow to the heart, and reduce the risk of further heart damage. In some cases, surgery or other procedures may be necessary.

Prevention of heart attacks involves maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and managing underlying health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

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  • American Heart Association. (2020). Heart Attack. Retrieved from
  • Mayo Clinic. (2020). Heart Attack. Retrieved from