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What It Feels Like To Have A Heart Attack

Updated: Mar 9, 2023


A heart attack occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is reduced or blocked. It may also occur when part of the heart muscle is damaged.The blockage is usually due to a growth of fat, cholesterol and other substances in the heart (coronary) arteries. The fatty, cholesterol containing deposits are known plaques. The process of plaque growth is called atherosclerosis. Your health care provider may also use ECG results to describe these types of heart


  • An acute complete blockage is a medium and large heart artery usually means you have an ST elevation myocardial infarction.

  • A partial blockage often you have a non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI).

Signs of Heart Attack

Don’t await to get help if you aware of any heart attack warning signs. Many heart attacks are sudden and intense, but other starts slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Pay attention to your body.

It may also include:

  • Chest Discomfort : Most heart attack includes discomfort in the mid of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes – or it can go away and then revert. It

  • can feel like discomfort pressure, squeezing or pain. Discomfort in other areas of the upper body: Symptoms may include pain and discomfort in one of the arm, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.Shortness of breath: This may be occuring with or without chest discomfort.

  • Other signs: Other possible signs include breaking out in a cold sweat or nausea.


Symptom of a heart attack varies from one another. Some people may have mild symptoms, Other may have severe symptoms and some people may have no symptoms.

Common heart attack symptom includes:

  • Nausea

  • Chest pain that can feel like pressure, tightness, pain and aching

  • Fatigue

  • Cold sweat

  • Lightheadedness and sudden dizziness

  • Heartburn or indigestion

  • Shortness of breath

  • Discomfort and Pain that extends to the shoulders, arms, back, neck, jaw, teeth or sometimes the upper belly.

A heart attack can be caused by a complete and partial blockage of a heart artery. One way to classify heart attacks is weather an electrocardiogram (ECG) shows some pecific changes (ST elevation) that require emergency invasive treatment.

Not each and every heart attack are caused by blockage arteries. Other causes include:
  • Coronary artery spasm. This is a severe squeezing of a blood vessel that is notblocked.The artery generally has cholesterol plaques or there is early hardening of thevessel due to smoking or other causes.

  • Certain infections. COVID-19 or other viral infections may risk the damage to the heart muscle.

  • Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD). This is a life threatening conditionthat is caused by a tear inside a heart artery.

Risk factors

Heart attack risk factors include:

  • Age. Men at age of 45 and older and women at age of 55 and older have more chances of getting heart attack.

  • High blood pressure.  High blood pressure may damage arteries that lead to the heart.High blood pressure that occurs with other conditions, such as obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes, increases the risk even more.

  • Obesity. Obesity is having a connection with high blood pressure, diabetes and bad cholesterol, and low levels of good cholesterol.

  • Diabetes. Rise in blood sugar level takes place when the body does 't make a hormone called insulin and can't use it correctly. Not enough exercise. A lack of physical activity is linked to a higher risk of heart attacks. Regular exercise may result in healthy heart.

  • Unhealthy diet. A diet that contains high sugar level, animal fats, trans fats and salt increases the risk of heart attack.

  • Stress. Emotional stress, such as extreme anger, may lead to increase the causes of a heart attack.

  • Illegal drug use. Cocaine and amphetamines are stimulants that can cause the risk of heart attack.

  • Take medications as directed. Your health care provider may prescribe medication to protect and improve health of your heart.

  • Follow a healthy lifestyle. Don't smoke. Keep going with a healthy weightand heart-healthy diet. Get regular exercise and manage stress.

  • Manage other health conditions. Some of the conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes can increase the cause of heart attacks.


Treatment for a heart attack includes:

1. Emergency medical care: Emergency medical personnel will take steps to ensure the airway is

open, monitor vital signs, and administer oxygen as needed.

2. Medications: Medications such as aspirin and clot-busting drugs may be given to help prevent

further damage to the heart.

3. Coronary angioplasty (stent placement): This procedure involves inserting a small tube called a

stent into the narrowed artery to help open it and restore blood flow to the heart.

4. Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG): This procedure involves using a healthy blood vessel from another part of the body to bypass a blocked artery and restore blood flow to the heart.

5. Lifestyle changes: Making lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, following a healthy diet, and exercising regularly, can help reduce the risk of future heart attacks. General medications prescribed

  • Aspirin

  • Clot busters (Fibrinolytics)

  • Other blood-thinning medications

  • Morphine

  • Beta blockers 

Surgical and other procedures

A surgery and treatment can be performed to open a clogged artery if you have already experienced a heart attack. Surgery and other treatments for a heart attack include:

  • Coronary angioplasty and stenting. It can also be called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). If you have had a heart attack, this procedure is often done while a procedure to find blockages.

  • Coronary Artery Bypass surgery (CABG). This is open-heart surgery.A Doctor takes a healthy blood vessel from other part of the body toproduce a new path for blood in the heart. The blood then goes around the blocked and narrowed coronary artery.

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