What is a heart attack, and how do you prevent it?

What is a heart attack, and how do you prevent it?

  Category: Blog     Date: 14-06-2023  

Introduction of Heart Attack

A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction (MI), is a serious medical condition that occurs when the blood flow to the heart muscle is blocked, resulting in the damage or death of heart tissue. 

India has emerged as a significant contributor to global cardiovascular disease-related deaths, accounting for at least 20% of the staggering 17.9 million fatalities. Alarmingly, a considerable portion of these cases involve the younger generation. 

Unhealthy lifestyle choices, imbalanced dietary habits, chronic stress, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption are widely recognized as the foremost factors contributing to the rising prevalence of heart problems among young individuals in the country.

In this comprehensive blog post, we will delve into the various types and forms of heart attacks, explore the underlying causes and symptoms, discuss how to identify a heart attack, and provide essential immediate actions to save a person's life. 

Types and Forms of Heart Attacks 

There are different types of heart attacks, each characterized by the location and severity of the blockage in the coronary arteries. The most common types include:

  1. ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI): This type involves a complete blockage of a coronary artery, resulting in significant damage to the heart muscle.

  2. Non-ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction (NSTEMI): In this type, the blockage is partial or temporary, leading to a lesser extent of heart muscle damage.

  3. Silent Heart Attack: This type goes unnoticed as it lacks typical symptoms. However, it can still cause long-term damage to the heart.

At every heart hospital in Patna or Apollo Hospital in Patna, doctors identify the type of heart attack with a series of tests to provide the patient with the appropriate treatment. 

What are the Heart Attack Causes and Risk Factors?

Heart attacks usually occur when plaque buildup in the coronary arteries ruptures, causing a blood clot to form and block the blood flow. Several factors contribute to this condition, including:

  1. Atherosclerosis: the accumulation of fatty deposits in the arteries, restricting blood flow.

  2. Hypertension: High blood pressure puts excessive strain on the heart and arteries.

  3. High Cholesterol: Elevated levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol promote plaque formation.

  4. Diabetes: Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and accelerate atherosclerosis.

  5. Smoking: Chemicals in tobacco smoke damage the blood vessels, making them more susceptible to plaque buildup.

There are many other causes associated with this, such as a bad family history of heart attacks or any other a priori health issue. 

Identifying a Heart Attack and Acting Fast!

A heart attack can be confused with a pain spike in your chest. Thus, recognizing the symptoms of a heart attack is crucial for prompt medical intervention. 

Common signs include:

  1. Chest pain or discomfort: a sensation of pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the chest that lasts for a few minutes or recurs.

  2. Shortness of breath: difficulty breathing or rapid breathing, often accompanied by chest discomfort.

  3. Upper body pain: pain or discomfort in the arms, neck, jaw, back, or stomach.

  4. Nausea, lightheadedness, or cold sweats: feeling sick, dizzy, or experiencing unexplained sweating.

If these symptoms appear, take these immediate actions:

In the case of a suspected heart attack, taking immediate action is crucial to increasing the chances of survival. Follow these steps:

  1. Call an Ambulance 

  2. Medication (if priorly prescribed by the doctor) 

  3. Perform CPR if necessary. If the person becomes unresponsive and stops breathing, start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) until medical help arrives.

How do I prevent heart attacks?

While certain risk factors for heart attacks, such as age and family history, cannot be modified, several preventive measures can significantly reduce the overall risk:

  • Adopt a heart-healthy diet: Consume a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats while limiting processed foods, sodium, and added sugars.

  • Engage in regular exercise: aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise each week. 

Consult a healthcare professional before starting any exercise regimen.

  • Manage stress: practice stress-reduction techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in activities that promote relaxation.

  • Quit smoking: Seek support and resources to quit smoking, as this habit significantly increases the risk of heart attacks.

  • Control blood pressure and cholesterol levels: regularly monitor blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and work with healthcare professionals to keep them within target ranges through medication and lifestyle changes.

  • Manage diabetes: Keep blood sugar levels under control through a combination of medication, healthy eating, regular physical activity, and regular monitoring.

  • Manage diabetes: Keep blood sugar levels under control through a combination of medication, healthy eating, regular physical activity, and regular monitoring.

  • Limit alcohol consumption.


A heart attack is a severe medical emergency, but with proper knowledge and timely action, lives can be saved. By understanding the various types, causes, and symptoms of heart attacks, and implementing preventive strategies such as a healthy lifestyle, one can significantly reduce the risk of experiencing this life-threatening condition. 

It is advisable to consult a doctor near you. You can search for a heart clinic near me or quickly book an appointment with Big Apollo Spectra Hospital in Patna.

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