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

CardioSmart News

New Decision Tool Helps Refine Blood Thinner Use in Stent Patients

May 24, 2016

DAPT score helps weigh the risks and benefits of continued dual antiplatelet therapy after stent implantation.

CardioSmart News

Virtual Health Programs Could Improve Global Health

May 22, 2016
An online challenge promotes physical activity and weight loss in over 60 countries.
CardioSmart News

Stress Tests Less Useful for Assessing Heart Disease in Women than Men

May 22, 2016

Cardiac imaging proves more useful than stress tests for determining heart risk in women, finds study.

CardioSmart News

Striking Trends Show Heart Attack Patients are Getting Younger, More Obese

May 11, 2016

Experts emphasize addressing cardiovascular risk factors like high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes earlier in life.

Heart Disease Burden Has Shifted to Southern U.S. States

May 04, 2016

The highest death rates from heart disease have shifted to the South since the 1970s.

CardioSmart News

Investigating the Link Between Depression and Heart Attack

Apr 23, 2016

Study highlights the need to improve diagnosis and treatment for depression in heart patients.

CardioSmart News

Immediate Beta Blocker Treatment Fails to Improve Heart Attack Outcomes

Apr 23, 2016

Beta blockers fail to reduce permanent tissue damage after a heart attack, but may have other benefits.

Heavy Drinking Heightens Immediate Risk for Heart Attack and Stroke

Mar 16, 2016
The protective benefits of alcohol only come with moderation.

Decline in Dementia Rates Over Past Three Decades

Mar 08, 2016

Study analyzed data on trends in older adults in the Framingham Heart Study.

Texting Programs Improve Medication Adherence in Patients with Chronic Disease

Feb 26, 2016
A recent study suggests that text messaging programs double the odds of medication adherence in adults with chronic disease.

Improving Heart Attack Treatment and Prevention in Women

Feb 09, 2016

Experts address key heart attack differences in men and women.

Simple Tests Help Assess Risk for Heart Disease

Feb 09, 2016
Other health markers besides traditional risk factors can shed light on risk and treatment.

Safety of Testosterone Therapy Remains Uncertain for Many Patients

Feb 02, 2016
Use of testosterone in older men and men living with heart disease remains controversial.

Gum Disease Linked to Increased Risk for Heart Attack

Jan 28, 2016

Inflammation associated with gum disease is likely to blame, but further research is needed to understand the relationship.

Too Little Exercise Remains a Prime Concern for Americans

Jan 18, 2016
Experts reaffirm that health benefits from exercise far outweigh risks.

Heart Attack Risk Linked to Gender, Not Sex

Jan 11, 2016

In young adults with acute coronary syndrome, feminine qualities increase risk for heart events, regardless of sex.

Cardiac Rehab is Lifesaving for Heart Patients

Jan 10, 2016

Exercise-based rehab programs reduce risk for heart-related death by 26%.

Heart Disease Remains Top Killer in the United States

Jan 10, 2016

Heart disease accounts for 1 in 3 deaths, highlighting an urgent need for prevention and treatment.

Optimism Protects Patients from Hospital Readmission After Heart Attack

Dec 16, 2015
Having a positive attitude may be an important part of recovery.

Negative Press for Statins Discourages Patients from Taking Their Meds

Dec 11, 2015

Not taking cholesterol-lowering statins as prescribed means higher risk for heart attack and death.

Regular Exercise Prevents Heart Disease in Elderly Adults

Dec 02, 2015

You’re never too old to exercise, according to a study linking regular physical activity to reduced risk for heart attack, stroke and death in adults over 75.

Declines in U.S. Death Rates Have Slowed

Nov 19, 2015
Researchers measure progress on heart disease and other leading causes of death, and identify areas for improvement.

Low-Fat Diets Not the Best Weight Loss Solution

Nov 19, 2015

A review of more than 50 clinical trials comparing low- versus higher-fat diets shows no significant difference in weight loss results.

Fruits and Vegetables Help Reduce Future Heart Risk

Nov 10, 2015
Eating fruits and veggies in your 20s and 30s reduces risk for heart disease later in life, finds study.

Young Adults, Especially Women, Don't Know Their Risk for Heart Disease

Oct 26, 2015

Only half of young adults suffering a heart attack knew they were at risk, finds study.

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."