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Heart Attack

What Causes a Heart Attack?

A heart attack is caused when the plaque that has formed on the inside of your artery wall breaks open. A blood clot forms in an already narrowed coronary artery. This blood clot blocks the artery completely. This blockage prevents the blood from flowing to the heart muscle.

What are the Signs and Signals?

The signs and signals of heart attack vary from person to person and may come and go. Nitroglycerin may provide a little relief or no relief at all.

If you have any of the following symptoms you may be having a heart attack.


  • Sudden discomfort or pain (in the chest, neck, jaw, shoulder, arms or back) that does not go away with rest
  • Pain may feel like burning, squeezing, heaviness, tightness, or pressur
  • In women, the pain may be more vague    

Shortness of Breath  

  • Difficulty breathing   


  •  Indigestion
  •  Vomiting    


  • Cool, clammy skin    


  • Anxiety
  • Denial    

Signs may be mild or severe. If you think that you or someone you know is having a heart attack, call 911 right away.

This material is for information purposes only. It should not be used in place of medical advice, instruction and/or treatment. If you have specific questions, please consult your doctor or appropriate health care provider.

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