Heart Attack

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Sam, Heart Attack patient
Learn more about Heart Attack
I never added up the symptoms. I thought maybe it was indigestion or stress anxiety as I was heading to work.

On my next visit to the doctor, I want to be prepared.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

I'm willing to try a new treatment or medication.

Your heart muscle needs oxygen and nutrients to work as it should. A heart attack (your doctor may call it a myocardial infarction) usually occurs when blood flow to the heart is suddenly cut off. When this happens, the heart muscle is starved of oxygen-rich blood. In just a short period of time, part of the heart can be damaged or die. That’s why immediate care is critical—it can spare your heart and save your life. If you think you are having a heart attack, dial 9-1-1 immediately.

If you’ve had a heart attack, you know how scary it can be. And you’re not alone. Over a million Americans have a heart attack each year.

Unfortunately, once you’ve had a heart attack, your chance of having another one is higher. But, there are steps you can take to protect your heart. Taking prescribed medications, following an exercise program tailored to you, maintaining a healthy weight and being careful about what you eat can all help keep your heart healthy. Controlling your blood pressure and lowering cholesterol are also important steps to help prevent another heart attack.

No two heart attacks are the same. If you’ve already had a heart attack, listen to your body. A repeat attack may feel very different. Both men and women can feel the classic crushing chest pain or tightness (called unstable angina), but they often report very different symptoms. Some people might instinctively know it’s a heart attack, others have more subtle symptoms.

Knowing the symptoms of a heart attack and getting treated right away can save your life. Use this condition center to learn more.

Heart Attack News & Events

CardioSmart News

Stumbling Block in Attempt to Reduce Risk of Complications from Surgery

Apr 15, 2014
Aspirin and blood-pressure lowering medication fail to improve outcomes in surgical patients at risk for heart disease.
CardioSmart News

Diabetes Drug Ruled Out as Heart Attack Treatment

Apr 14, 2014
A common diabetes drug, metformin, failed to improve outcomes for non-diabetic patients after a heart attack.

Heart Attack Survival Rates Poorest in the South

Apr 04, 2014
Southerners more likely to die from heart attack than any other U.S. region, according to a recent study.

Fruits and Vegetables Help Lower Heart Attack Risk Later in Life

Mar 29, 2014
Women who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables during their 20s have healthier arteries later in life, finds study.

Secondhand Smoke Causes Permanent Damage to Children's Arteries

Mar 13, 2014
Exposure to secondhand smoke during childhood ages arteries later in life, study finds.

Losing Temper Increases Risk for Heart Attack and Stroke

Mar 11, 2014
Outbursts of anger may trigger heart attack or stroke within two hours, according to review of studies.

Losing a Loved One Can Increase Heart Attack and Stroke Risk

Mar 07, 2014

While losing a spouse doubles 30-day risk of heart attack and stroke, according to a new study, the risk is still very low.

Sudden Death in College Athletes: Cause for Concern?

Feb 27, 2014
Ten-year study finds risk of sudden cardiac death among college athletes is actually lower than in the general population.

Improving America's Health through Active Transportation

Feb 26, 2014
Partners unite to promote active transportation across the country with new platform called “Safe Routes to Everywhere.”

Devices in Public Places Restart Hearts

Feb 21, 2014
Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) can help minimally trained bystanders save persons experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.

Safety Concerns About Prescription Weight Loss Pills

Feb 20, 2014
Experts are concerned about the safety of two weight loss pills recently approved for use in the United States.

CVS to Stop Selling Cigarettes; Will Others Follow?

Feb 19, 2014
As CVS vows to eliminate cigarette and tobacco sales over the next year, experts hope other pharmacies will follow their lead to help reduce smoking rates nationwide.

Improving Medication Adherence in Heart Attack Patients

Feb 11, 2014
New support program helps patients adhere to a personalized treatment plan following a heart attack.

Improvements in Heart Patient Safety Among U.S. Hospitals

Feb 07, 2014
Study finds fewer complications among patients hospitalized for heart attack or heart failure between 2005 and 2011.

Fit Teens Have Lower Heart Attack Risk Later in Life

Jan 16, 2014
Study finds that fitness early in life helps reduce heart attack risk during adulthood.

Anti-Smoking Efforts Saved 8 Million Lives—and Counting

Jan 15, 2014
On the 50th anniversary of the Surgeon General’s first report on smoking and health, study finds tobacco control efforts have increased life expectancy and saved millions of American lives.

Multivitamins Fail to Improve Memory in Older Men

Jan 10, 2014
Study findings suggest that daily multivitamins fail to prevent cognitive decline in older adults.

Exercise Reduces Risk of Cardiac Events in Heart Patients

Jan 10, 2014
High-risk patients who add in about 20 minutes of walking each day can lower their risk for a cardiac event by 10%.

Energy Drinks Increase the Heart's Contraction Rate

Dec 09, 2013
Study suggests that energy drinks may be unsafe for children and individuals with existing heart conditions, like an irregular heartbeat.

Does Chest Pain Differ Among Men and Women During a Heart Attack?

Dec 05, 2013
Study finds small differences in characteristics of chest pain by gender.
CardioSmart News

Taking Aspirin at Bedtime Decreases Heart Attack Risk

Nov 26, 2013
Taking aspirin before bed helps prevent blood clotting and reduces cardiovascular risk in heart attack patients.

Nut Consumption Linked to Longevity

Nov 26, 2013
Study finds that regular consumption of nuts could lower risk of death by as much as 20%.
CardioSmart News

It's Easier to Lose Weight with Family and Friends, Study Finds

Nov 25, 2013
Weight loss interventions in social networks are more effective than standard care.
CardioSmart News

Preschoolers Learn Heart-Healthy Lessons with 'Sesame Street'

Nov 25, 2013
Study finds heart-health messages in “Sesame Street” promote healthier behavior in preschool children.

Registry Programs Improve Quality of Care and Outcomes

Nov 18, 2013
Lessons learned from the American Heart Association’s “Get With The Guidelines” program.

Featured Video

Women often experience heart attack symptoms differently than men. It's important for a woman to be able to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack and react quickly by calling 911.

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Featured Video

It's important for men to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack, remain calm and quickly call 911. Under no circumstances should men try to "tough it out."