Heart Attack

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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Heart Disease Two out of three people who have a heart attack will survive and recover. A heart attack will be fatal if it interferes with the electrical impulses that regulate your heartbeat. Most deaths occur within two hours of the first symptoms .

The most common kind of heart attack is caused by a blockage of one of the coronary arteries by a blood clot. The blood clot blocks off the blood flow to an area of the heart muscle. The lack of blood to that area causes tissue damage. Usually heart attacks occur in coronary arteries that are already narrowed by years of fatty deposits collecting on the inside of the arteries.

The main symptom of a heart attack is usually a crushing pain in the center of the chest. Other symptoms may be pain in the neck, jaw, arms, and stomach. A heart attack can come on gradually over a period of weeks or suddenly without warning.

The pain may also vary from light to very strong pain. Often the symptoms come after exercise or emotional stress and a heart attack will occur. Also dizziness, shortness of breath, sweating, chills, nausea and fainting can be signs of a heart attack.

In the United States there are more deaths from heart disease than from any other disorder, but for every heart attack death there are at least two heart attack survivors. From the beginning of the 1900's the death rate from heart disease grew constantly in the United States until the late 1960's when it stopped and started to decline. Many believe this improvement was due to the greater awareness and people changing their lifestyles to live healthier.

Heart failure is not the same as a heart attack. Heart failure is occurs when the pumping action of your...