Heart Attack

Heart attacks happen when the heart's blood supply is suddenly cut off, making immediate care critical.

Learn more about Heart Attack

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: about 735,000 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

Blacks Have Shorter Life Expectancy After Heart Attack Than Whites

Oct 06, 2015
The largest gaps in life expectancy among study participants occurred in higher income areas.

Enter the "I am CardioSmart" Patient Contest

Oct 05, 2015

Tell us how you are living well with heart disease for a chance to win a trip for two to Chicago in April 2016!

Longer, But Not Necessarily Healthier, Lives

Sep 25, 2015
While life expectancy continues to rise, heart disease becomes the leading cause of disability around the world.

Deep Belly Fat Increases Cardiovascular Risk

Sep 18, 2015
Study finds that both volume and type of belly fat have an impact on heart health.

Age and Gender Differences in Heart Disease Mortality Rates

Sep 17, 2015
Despite recent drops in cardiovascular mortality rates, death toll among young adults remains high.

Flu Vaccine Reduces Risk for Heart Attack

Sep 11, 2015

A review of 16 recent studies suggests the flu vaccine offers heart protection even for adults without known heart disease. 

Southern Diet Strongly Linked to Heart Disease

Sep 02, 2015
Excessive sugar and saturated fats are to blame for the negative impact on heart health.

Obese Patients More Likely to Receive Preventive Meds

Aug 25, 2015
This study investigates the link between obesity, medications to help mitigate heart disease risk, and what is known as the “obesity paradox.”

Economic and Social Forces Have Big Impact on Heart Health

Aug 21, 2015
The American Heart Association has issued a scientific statement addressing social factors that influence risk for heart disease.

A History of Trauma Places Women at Increased Cardiovascular Risk

Jul 28, 2015
Traumatic events like physical assault and childhood abuse are linked to a nearly 50% increased risk for heart attack or stroke.

Chocolate Protects Against Heart Disease and Stroke

Jul 01, 2015
Moderate chocolate consumption helps, not harms, cardiovascular health.

Action, Not Advice, Helps Smokers Quit

Jun 25, 2015
Creating a quit plan and providing tools for ongoing support is more effective than education alone in helping smokers quit.

Education and Income Closely Linked to Heart Disease Risk in African-Americans

Jun 15, 2015
Findings suggest that the lifestyle factors that come with higher income can reduce risk for heart attack and stroke.

Cash Incentives Help Smokers Quit

Jun 03, 2015
Rewards-based programs are much more appealing than deposit-based programs, which require smokers to risk their own money.

Low-Dose Aspirin Safest for Heart Attack Survivors

Jun 03, 2015
Study finds low-dose aspirin is just as effective and carries less risk of complications than high-dose aspirin in heart attack patients.

Few Patients Well-Informed When Considering Heart Procedure to Relieve Chest Pain

May 29, 2015

When patients are well-educated about the decision, fewer decide to undergo the procedure.

Strong Grip Indicates Better Heart Health

May 29, 2015
Grip strength is a simple and affordable way to assess health, including risk for heart disease and stroke.

Complications From Heart Drugs More Common in Women than Men

May 26, 2015

Gender differences in the safety and efficacy of heart drugs are widely overlooked despite women having increased risk of complications.

Mediterranean Diet Improves Memory and Brain Function

May 26, 2015
A diet rich in olive oil and nuts may improve brain function and reduce risk for dementia.

Obese Teens at High Risk for Heart Disease

May 12, 2015
Study finds that by the age of 17, most obese teens are facing potential heart problems later in life.

A National Plan to Get America Moving

May 11, 2015

Proposed changes to our physical and social environments encourage regular physical activity for Americans throughout the course of the day.

Detecting Clogged Arteries to Potentially Prevent Heart Disease

May 02, 2015

3–D testing finds nearly two-thirds of healthy, middle-aged adults have early signs of heart disease.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Rare for Adults Engaged in Sports

Apr 23, 2015

Study highlights the benefits of exercise and sports in middle-aged adults, as well as CPR training.

Is There an Exercise 'Sweet Spot' for Longer Life?

Apr 23, 2015
Two large-scale studies take a close look at meeting or exceeding current exercise guidelines, but one thing is clear: Any physical activity is far better than none.

Heart Attack Risk Especially High Among Divorced Women

Apr 17, 2015
Even women who remarried had 35% greater heart attack risk than those who were continuously married.

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.

Get CardioSmart

You're Invited

CardioSmart Points

Log in to Check Your Balance
and Go Shopping

Learn how to earn more CardioSmart Points

Upcoming Events

Managing Your Heart Health: Cholesterol event in Atlanta

Emory University (Winship Ballroom)
Atlanta, GA 30322
Oct 30, 2015, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

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."