Question

How do we get a heart attack?

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Answer

A heart attack occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a part of the heart is blocked. This blockage can have several causes, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, a previous history of heart conditions, obesity, and excessive alcohol consumption.

Detailed Explanation

The heart muscle requires oxygen to function properly. A heart attack happens when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is either severely reduced or completely cut off. This primarily occurs because the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle, can gradually narrow due to the accumulation of fat, cholesterol, and other substances. This accumulation forms what is known as plaque, and the process of plaque buildup is termed atherosclerosis.

When a plaque ruptures in a coronary artery, a blood clot forms around it. This blood clot can obstruct the blood flow through the artery to the heart muscle. When the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen and essential nutrients, a condition called ischemia occurs. If ischemia leads to the damage or death of a part of the heart muscle, it results in a heart attack, medically referred to as myocardial infarction (MI).


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