Understanding Everything about HEART ATTACK

August 21, 2021 Team 0 Comments

What is a heart attack?

For your heart to function properly, it needs a good blood supply. A heart attack occurs when a coronary artery, which supplies blood to your heart, becomes blocked. This stops the blood flow and reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to your heart muscle. This causes the most common heart attack symptoms, which are chest discomfort or pain and can spread to your arms, neck, jaw or back. Unlike angina this discomfort often last for longer than 10 minutes

Your heart can be damaged by interrupted blood flow caused by a heart attack. The longer the blockage is left untreated the more the damage occurs. Without urgent treatment to restore the blood flow, the damage can be permanent. 

A heart attack can be fatal. Each day, an average of 21 Australians die from a heart attack. One patient is admitted to an Australian hospital with a heart attack every nine minutes.  

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing heart attack symptoms for greater than 10 minutes of rest, or if symptoms are severe, or they are getting worse, call Emergency Helpline immediately. 

What causes a heart attack?

The most common cause of a heart attack is coronary heart disease. This occurs when the coronary artery, which supplies blood to your heart, narrows because of a build-up of plaque. Plaque is made of fat, cholesterol and other materials. The narrowed artery causes a reduced amount of blood flow to your heart muscle.  

During a heart attack, plaque from the artery wall breaks away (ruptures) and can form a clot. This can block the flow of blood through the artery and cause damage to the heart muscle. 

Other causes of heart attack besides blockage

Not all heart attacks are caused by coronary heart disease and plaque rupture. 

Some heart attacks are caused when a coronary artery contracts (spasms) and narrows. Like coronary heart disease, this also reduces or stops blood flow reaching your heart. If an artery has a severe spasm, it can cause a heart attack.  

A heart attack can also be caused by the tearing of the coronary artery wall (spontaneous coronary artery dissection). 

What is the difference between heart attack and cardiac arrest?

Heart attack 

A heart attack occurs when an artery supplying blood to your heart becomes blocked, which stops blood flow and reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to your heart.  

A person having a heart attack is usually conscious and may be complaining of chest discomfort or pain or other symptoms.  

Cardiac arrest  

A cardiac arrest occurs when your heart stops beating due to an electrical malfunction.  

A person in cardiac arrest will be unconscious (not able to respond) and will not be breathing. This is because their heart has suddenly stopped beating and blood can no longer flow to the brain, heart and lungs.  

A cardiac arrest is a medical emergency. If the heart is not restarted immediately, cardiac arrest can lead to brain damage and then death. Every second counts. If you witness a cardiac arrest call Triple Zero (000) immediately. Giving chest compressions and using a defibrillator (AED) can improve a person’s chances of survival.

Heart attack warning signs and symptoms

Recognising the symptoms of a heart attack and calling Emergency services could save your life or the life of a loved one. It’s important that everyone, both male and female, know the warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack, because early treatment is vital. The longer a blockage is left untreated, the more damage occurs.        

The most common heart attack warning signs are:  

  • Chest discomfort or pain (angina). This can feel like uncomfortable pressure, aching, numbness, squeezing, fullness or pain in your chest. This discomfort can spread to your arms, neck, jaw or back. It can last for several minutes or come and go 
  • Dizziness, light-headedness, feeling faint or feeling anxious 
  • Nausea, indigestion, vomiting 
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing – with or without chest discomfort 
  • Sweating or a cold sweat.    



Understanding Everything about HEART ATTACK was last modified: August 21st, 2021 by Team