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Myocardial Infarction

Myocardial Infarction is the medical term for a heart attack. A heart attack essentially means that there has been a death of heart cells. This results from a complete blockage of one of the blood vessels that feeds the coronary artery.

Atherosclerosis is the main cause of myocardial infarction. Atherosclerotic plaque is a substance made up of cells, cholesterol, and other fatty substances. This substance develops in the wall of the coronary artery and over time, becomes large enough to start narrowing the channel through which the blood travels. This can lead to the forming of a blood clot which can cause complete obstruction of the artery and a subsequent heart attack.

The most common symptom of a heart attack is chest pain. The pain is typically described as a burning or pressure sensation beneath the mid- or upper-breastbone. The pain may also radiate into the mid-upper back, neck, jaw, or arms. Although the pain can be severe, it’s often only moderate, and can be accompanied by shortness of breath or sweating.

Many individuals are at risk for having a heart attack. The risk factors include:

• Heredity—especially early heart disease
• High cholesterol
• High blood pressure
• Obesity
• Diabetes
• Stress
• Sedentary lifestyle
• Cigarette smoking

The best treatment for a heart attack is prevention, which means controlling or eliminating risk factors. Exercising is also an important part of treatment, as are regular examinations by your doctor.

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