Heart Attack

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

Learn more about Heart Attack

A common sleep disorder can increase your risk of heart attack.

Learn about Sleep Apnea

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

Improving Heart Attack Treatment and Prevention in Women

Feb 09, 2016

Experts address key heart attack differences in men and women.

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.

African-American Veterans Healthier Than White Counterparts

Oct 22, 2015

Analysis of VA data stands in contrast to health disparities in the general U.S. population.

Women Less Likely to Take Medication to Prevent Second Heart Attack

Oct 21, 2015
Women are either less likely than men to receive a prescription for preventive medication or to fill the prescription.

Alcohol-Related Injury and Disease Pose Global Health Concern

Oct 20, 2015
Excessive drinking is a major public health issue in high- and low-income countries alike.

Music Boosts Heart Health

Oct 13, 2015
Music’s effect on heart activity, blood pressure and breathing bodes well for health.

A Healthy Lifestyle in Midlife Makes for Healthier Golden Years

Oct 13, 2015

The benefits of healthy choices carry long into older adulthood.

Measuring Calcium Build-Up Helps Predict Risk for Heart Disease

Oct 07, 2015
New risk calculations include coronary artery calcification in addition to factors like age, cholesterol, blood pressure and smoking status.

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" 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.

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."