Archive | February 2021


“In the United States, about 795,000 people suffer a stroke each year. Someone has a stroke every 40 seconds, and every 4 minutes someone dies from stroke. There are more than 140,000 deaths each year from stroke. Statistics show that about 40% of stroke deaths occur in males and 60% in females.  Stroke is also the leading cause of serious long-term disability in the United States. There are over 7 million stroke survivors live in United States and two-thirds of them are currently disabled. Around 25% of people who recover their first stroke will have another within 5 years.”

Stroke Awareness Foundation  (

Part II Stroke Awareness – Signs/symptoms and diagnostic testing!

Signs and Symptoms of a stroke happening:

Symptoms of stroke include trouble walking, speaking, and understanding, as well as paralysis or numbness of the face, arm, or leg.

People may experience the following:                                                                      

Muscular: difficulty walking, paralysis with weak muscles, problems with coordination, stiff muscles, overactive reflexes, or paralysis of one side of the body

Visual: blurred vision, double vision, sudden visual loss, or temporary loss of vision in one eye

Whole body: balance disorder, fatigue, or lightheadedness

Speech: difficulty speaking, slurred speech, or speech loss

Sensory: pins and needles or reduced sensation of touch

Facial: muscle weakness or numbness

Limbs: numbness or weakness

Also common: difficulty swallowing, headache, inability to understand, mental confusion, numbness, or rapid involuntary eye movement

What is done for a stroke regarding diagnostic tooling:

To determine the most appropriate treatment for your stroke, your emergency team needs to evaluate the type of stroke you’re having and the areas of your brain affected by the stroke. They also need to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms, such as a brain tumor or a drug reaction. Your doctor may use several tests to determine your risk of stroke, including:

CT scan of brain tissue damaged by stroke

Cerebral angiogram  A cerebral angiogram showing a carotid aneurysm due to a stroke.

Physical examination. Your doctor will ask you or a family member what symptoms you’ve been having, when they started and what you were doing when they began. Your doctor then will evaluate whether these symptoms are still present.

Your doctor will want to know what medications you take and whether you have experienced any head injuries. You’ll be asked about your personal and family history of heart disease, transient ischemic attack or stroke.

Your doctor will check your blood pressure and use a stethoscope to listen to your heart and to listen for a whooshing sound (bruit) over your neck (carotid) arteries, which may indicate atherosclerosis. Your doctor may also use an ophthalmoscope to check for signs of tiny cholesterol crystals or clots in the blood vessels at the back of your eyes.

Blood tests. You may have several blood tests, which tell your care team how fast your blood clots, whether your blood sugar is abnormally high or low, whether critical blood chemicals are out of balance, or whether you may have an infection. Managing your blood’s clotting time and levels of sugar and other key chemicals will be part of your stroke care.

Computerized tomography (CT) scan. A CT scan uses a series of X-rays to create a detailed image of your brain. A CT scan can show a hemorrhage, tumor, stroke and other conditions. Doctors may inject a dye into your bloodstream to view your blood vessels in your neck and brain in greater detail (computerized tomography angiography).

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI uses powerful radio waves and magnets to create a detailed view of your brain. An MRI can detect brain tissue damaged by an ischemic stroke and brain hemorrhages. Your doctor may inject a dye into a blood vessel to view the arteries and veins and highlight blood flow (magnetic resonance angiography, or magnetic resonance venography).

Carotid ultrasound. In this test, sound waves create detailed images of the inside of the carotid arteries in your neck. This test shows buildup of fatty deposits (plaques) and blood flow in your carotid arteries.

Cerebral angiogram. In this test, your doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube (catheter) through a small incision, usually in your groin, and guides it through your major arteries and into your carotid or vertebral artery. Then your doctor injects a dye into your blood vessels to make them visible under X-ray imaging. This procedure gives a detailed view of arteries in your brain and neck.

Echocardiogram. An echocardiogram uses sound waves to create detailed images of your heart. An echocardiogram can find a source of clots in your heart that may have traveled from your heart to your brain and caused your stroke.

You may have a transesophageal echocardiogram. In this test, your doctor inserts a flexible tube with a small device (transducer) attached into your throat and down into the tube that connects the back of your mouth to your stomach (esophagus). Because your esophagus is directly behind your heart, a transesophageal echocardiogram can create clear, detailed ultrasound images of your heart and any blood clots.

In reality going to an ER room if the pt comes suspected of a stroke and has symptoms or not than  nationally in America the hospitals are to do the following:                                                                                 -A neuro assessment should be done in 10 minutes

-A CT SCAN ordered and pt sent off for the test and done within 25 minutes.

-The CT SCAN read and interpreted by the radiologist / neuro doctor.  At this point it tells the MD if the pt has a blockage or a hemmorage in the brain that caused the stroke.  Remember a ischemic stroke and hemmoragic stroke are treated differently.

We’ll get into treatment tomorrow in Part III Treatment of a stroke.


“If you have been diagnosed with heart disease, it is important to understand the condition can lead to serious health problem; if left untreated.  Hypercholesteremia can happen to multiple areas.  Healthy, regular blood flow to all organs is a necessity for survival and the brain needs to get oxygen and nutrients it needs to function. The association between heart disease and stroke risk is based on the heart’s role in providing good blood flow to the brain.”.
Heidi Moawad is a neurologist and expert in the field of brain health and neurological disorders.  (

Part I Stroke Awareness

stroke 1b

stoke 1a


Statistics to know about strokes:

Stroke was the third leading cause of death in the United States. Presently the CDC says under its statistics that Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death for Americans, but the risk of having a stroke varies with many factors.  Remember strokes have declined since 2003 based on CDC risk factors now compared to risk factors CDC listed in 2014.

More than 140,000 people die each year from stroke in the United States, that’s 1 out of every 20 deaths now.

Stroke costs the United States an estimated $34 billion each year.  This total includes the cost of health care services, medicines to treat stroke, and missed days of work.

Stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States. Each year, approximately 795,000 people suffer a stroke.

About 600,000 of these are first attacks, and 185,000 are recurrent attacks. Nearly three-quarters of all strokes occur in people over the age of 65.  Stroke reduces mobility in more than half of stroke survivors age 65 and over.

The risk of having a stroke more than doubles each decade after the age of 55.

Strokes can & do occur at ANY age. Nearly one fourth of strokes occur in people under the age of 65.  Stroke risk increases with age, but strokes can—and do—occur at any age.

In 2009, 34% of people hospitalized for stroke were less than 65 years old.

Stroke death rates are higher for African-Americans than for whites, even at younger ages.

On average, someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds.

Stroke accounted for about one of every 17 deaths in the United States in 2006. Stroke mortality for 2005 was 137,000.

From 1995–2005, the stroke death rate fell ~30 percent and the actual number of stroke deaths declined ~14 percent.  It still has declined from 2005 by CDC statistics which is good.

While stroke death rates have declined for decades among all race/ethnicities, Hispanics have seen an increase in death rates since 2013.

What is a Stroke?

A Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. It is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States.  A stroke occurs when a blood vessel which carry oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts (or ruptures). When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so this in the end causes brain cells to die.

There is a stroke noted as a mini stroke which is a transient (temporary) ischemic attack= TIA, which we went over last Friday.  If you want to review it go right ahead, its listed under 5/08/2020 article.  A TIA is different than  strokes.  First some call it a mini stroke but remember the symptoms of a TIA are similar to stroke symptoms listed below for actual strokes; the difference for the patient is that they are completely reversible.  Take angina for example, in this case the pt has the heart affected but the symptoms are completely reversible, just a different organ.  The organs (the heart for angina and the brain for TIA) are simply having the symptoms of an infarction of the organ that is involved but both are due to lack of 0xygen, called ischemia.

Getting back to actual strokes lets review types of strokes.

There are 2 types of strokes:

Ischemic Stroke which are strokes that occur through an obstruction of blood flow by a clot called a thrombus.

Hemorrhagic stroke by a blood vessel rupturing and preventing blood flow to the brain.

In the case of a stroke its a infarction to the brain due to lack of oxygen to the organ we call the brain, only the symptoms are not reversible but they can decrease in the intensity of the damage the caused in time with treatment (PT and OT) in time.  For some the symptoms are almost completely gone, again it depends on the intensity of the stroke to the brain, how bad was it with the symptoms it caused.

What puts you at risk for a stroke?

Non modiafiable risks meaning you can’t change them are:

Age:  Stroke occurs in all age groups.  Studies show the risk of stroke doubles for each decade between the ages of 55 and 85.  But strokes also can occur in childhood or adolescence.  Although stroke is often considered a disease of aging, the risk of stroke in childhood is actually highest during the perinatal period, which encompasses the last few months of fetal life and the first few weeks after birth.

-Gender:  Men have a higher risk for stroke, but more women die from stroke.  Men generally do not live as long as women, so men are usually younger when they have their strokes and therefore have a higher rate of survival.

-Race:  People from certain ethnic groups have a higher risk of stroke.  For African Americans, stroke is more common and more deadly—even in young and middle-aged adults—than for any ethnic or other racial group in the United States.  Studies show that the age-adjusted incidence of stroke is about twice as high in African Americans and Hispanic Americans as in Caucasians.  An important risk factor for African-Americans is sickle cell disease, which can cause a narrowing of arteries and disrupt blood flow. The incidence of the various stroke subtypes also varies considerably in different ethnic groups.

Family history of stroke:  Stroke seems to run in some families.  Several factors may contribute to familial stroke.  Members of a family might have a genetic tendency for stroke risk factors, such as an inherited predisposition for high blood pressure (hypertension) or diabetes.  The influence of a common lifestyle among family members also could contribute to familial stroke.

Modiafiable Risk Factors meaning you CAN change them:

High Blood Pressure (hypertension)

RX: DIET & EXERCISE & MEDS that a MD would decide.

High Cholesterol

RX: DIET and if necessary MEDS that a MD would decide.

Diabetes Mellitus

RX: DIET & EXERCISE & MEDS that a MD would decide.

Cigarette Smoking


Carotid Artery Disease

RX: DIET & EXERCISE & MEDS  even possible SURGERY that a MD would decide.

Atrial Fibrillation

RX: DIET & EXERCISE & MEDS even possible SURGERY that a MD would decide.

Unhealthy Diet   RX: DIET

Physical Inactivity and Obesity

RX: DIET & EXERCISE & possibly even MEDS that a MD would decide.

Go to your DOCTOR before doing any program and let your MD tell you what type of a program would be best for you especially if you are diagnosed with disease (EX. Diabetes, Cardiac, etc…).


“Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your blood. Your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, but high levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. With high cholesterol, you can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. Eventually, these deposits grow, making it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries. Sometimes, those deposits can break suddenly and form a clot that causes a heart attack or stroke. “.


Cholesterol, Heart Disease Risk Factors, & the key to prevention or Rx. of it.

cholesterol and heart disease 

cholesteroterol and heart disease

In our body we have cholesterol which is a type of fat. In certain foods is cholesterol depending on the food you buy. Your total cholesterol includes LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol. Let’s differentiate the two, LDL is bad cholesterol because it can build up in the arterial walls and form plaque in time. That build up in the arteries will reduce blood flow and increase your risk to heart disease, especially eating frequently the wrong foods with high and bad cholesterol over years (Example. coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and eating like this for years can lead to a heart attack or from s/s arising scarring the person to go to the doctor and find out they have blockages & need surgery. The sign and symptoms arising scarring the person can range from chest pain, and can be radiating down the arms, sweating profusely, weakness/fatigue increases in your life, dizziness, you feel like you’re going to fall or actually due to the fatigue/weakness=low blood pressure due to the blockage or the heart just working too hard in doing its function since the cardiac output is decreased from the blockage) Take one of my dear friends who I have known almost 35 years who was a workaholic 10to14hr/7 days a week for at least 25 years and this week he had to undergo surgery for a coronary artery blockage bypass for 5 vessels blocked 80% to 100%. He had a successful bypass done but now has a long rehab haul to get better due to high cholesterol eating, smoking (that both play an impact in plaque & tar build up in the vessels) but he also was obese by about 50lbs. This could have been prevented if he changed his diet, watched his weight, and quit smoking years ago but that takes discipline, making sacrifices=all within your hands to allow for healthy habits now (prevention) or later when problems occur (treatment), if caught in time. There is a way out of this happening to you.

HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol is also known as good cholesterol because it is thought to help remove bad cholesterol from the body; if you decide the right foods in the right portions that will have more HDL than LDL in them. Differentiating the 2, now another component to keep in mind is risk factors that can put you at risk for heart disease and your doctor will determine what additional risk factors you have putting you at risk for heart disease. These risk factors can be modifiable (controllable by individuals) or non-modifiable (non-controllable by individuals).

Modifiable Risk Factors=High B/P, Diabetes, Low HDL=good cholesterol, High LDL=bad cholesterol, smoking, eating foods high in SATURATED FAT & CHOLESTEROL, lack of any activity in your life (your regular routine doesn’t count), & harmful use of alcohol.

MAYO CLINIC states Factors Increasing your BAD Cholesterol:

  • Poor diet. Eating saturated fat, found in animal products, and trans fats, found in some commercially baked cookies and crackers and microwave popcorn, can raise your cholesterol level. Foods that are high in cholesterol, such as red meat and full-fat dairy products, will also increase your cholesterol.
  • Obesity.
  • Lack of exercise. Exercise helps boost your body’s HDL, or “good,” cholesterol while increasing the size of the particles that make up your LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, which makes it less harmful.
  • Smoking.
  • Age. Because your body’s chemistry changes as you age, your risk of high cholesterol climbs. For instance, as you age, your liver becomes less able to remove LDL cholesterol.
  • Diabetes. High blood sugar contributes to higher levels of a dangerous cholesterol called very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) and lower HDL cholesterol. High blood sugar also damages the lining of your arteries.

Non-modifiable Risk Factors=4 types only which are: 1-Heredity (The higher the risk is when the heredity is closer to you in your family tree=Nuclear family–mom, dad, and siblings). 2-Age (Men aged 45y/o or older & Women aged 55 y/o or older) 3-Gender (It may affect your risk, for years heart disease was considered a man’s disease but we now know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women as well as men. Although men tend to develop coronary artery disease earlier in life, after age 65 the risk of heart disease for both genders is equal.) 4-Race (Heart disease is higher among African Americans, Mexican Americans, American Indians, native Hawaiians, and some Asian Americans compared to Caucasians).

WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?  To make this short & simple, from continuous high cholesterol over time, especially with history in your nuclear family puts you at risk for ATHERO-SCLEROSIS = Blockage In Arteries.  This puts at you at risk for a heart attack, stroke (Based on oxygen blocked by high cholesterol causing lack of oxygenated blood (nutrients) to the heart or brain due to high cholesterol build up in arteries supplying the heart and brain.  This is a high risk for MI & CVA).

Now it makes sense?  The answer to prevention or treatment of cardiac disease is changing or modifying your diet, if it’s unhealthy 100% or just partially. The answer includes exercise (from just walking or if you like working out, even better) and if needed medication but your doctor will decide. All these changes can modify your blood lipid profile=cholesterol control, which helps increasing your heart to a better tolerance with activity, stress and simply functioning. Recommended is going to a cardiologist for people diagnosed with heart conditions or your general practitioner with any illness/disease before making changes to help guide you towards the right choices. Your doctor can help you in determining which prevention or treatment plan is best for you.

Foods high in cholesterol=Fast foods, whole fat dairy products-milk/cheese/butter/mayonnaise/ bacon/processed deli meats/salad dressings and shortenings.

The key is to be living a healthy life. This consists of diet, exercise or activity and healthy habits learned and practiced routinely in your life that will help prevent or assist in treating cardiac disease. The better we treat ourselves regarding health the higher the odds we will live a longer   life. There is not just one food to eat or one type of exercise to do or one healthy habit to keep you healthy, there are choices. Wouldn’t you want less disease/illness for yourself and for others throughout the nation including the future generations?  It is all in change and that would be in your diet, activity getting increased and exercise balanced with rest.  Most importantly sticking to it regularly not doing these changes on occasion and that is all in how well you discipline yourself.


“1-According to the Heart Foundation, listening to your loved one is one of the most important things you can do to help their recovery. Hearing their needs and concerns will mean much more than rushing to give advice.  2-There are many ways to offer support to your loved one, including going with them to their cardiac rehab, recommending a support group, planning a social outing for the two of you,  3- Regular breaks from caring are essential to your own health, says the Heart Foundation. If you don’t take care of your own health, you won’t be able to care for others.  4- Just by reading this article, you’re taking the initiative to inform yourself, which is a fantastic step forward. It’s a great idea to read up to make sure you’re well informed on heart attack care, as your loved one may be overwhelmed,”

People at risk for a heart attack & CAD. How a MI is diagnosed & treated including complications that could arise after the MI.

heart                       heart_attack

People who are at risk for the development of coronary artery disease and myocardial infarction include those who fall into any of the categories listed below:

People with a history of cardiovascular heart disease, Males, Smokers, People with high cholesterol, People with high blood pressure, Obese people, People with diabetes, People who suffer stress., People who live a sedentary life style, Heredity is a powerful factor that contributes to early heart disease. Being male is a risk factor, but the incidence of heart disease in women increases dramatically after menopause.

**The risk factors to concentrate upon are those that can be modified. These include cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, sedentary life style and stress. Cigarette smoking causes many deaths from myocardial infarction and other heart diseases. Smoking contributes to almost half of the heart attacks of women under age 55.*

***Stopping smoking can greatly reduce your chances of having a heart attack. Controlling blood pressure can reduce your risk of heart attack. Lowering cholesterol to safe levels through diet and medications can reduce your risk and may even lead to some regression of the plaques already present. Lean body weight and a regular exercise program are helpful.

****If you are diabetic, precise control of your diabetes will help reduce your risk of blood vessel damage due to diabetes. Stress is a risk factor that is common, difficult to quantify and difficult to control effectively over time. Methods of stress reduction include meditation, regular exercise, time management, and a supportive environment.

How is a heart attack diagnosed?

Chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack. The chest pain is usually a burning or pressure sensation beneath the mid or upper breast bone. The pain may radiate into the upper mid back, neck, jaw or arms. The pain may be severe but often is only moderate in severity.

There may be associated shortness of breath or sweating. If patients have had angina previously, the heart attack pain will feel the same as their usual angina only stronger and more prolonged. If you have a pain like this that lasts longer than 15 minutes, it is best to be evaluated immediately.

Calling your medic unit is the fastest and safest way to ask for help. If you have symptoms like this that wax and wane, this is often a warning sign that a heart attack is about to occur and prompt medical attention is needed.

Once you are in an emergency room or a doctor’s office an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) will be obtained. This is often helpful in diagnosing a heart attack. Sometimes, however, the test is normal even when the heart injury is present but usually a great diagnostic tool.

When heart cells die, certain enzymes present in heart cells are released into the bloodstream that serve as a marker of heart injury (troponin I and CPK or CK-MB). These enzymes can be measured by blood tests. The amount of enzyme released into the blood stream also helps assess how much heart damage has occurred.

How a heart attack is commonly treated:

The best way to limit the size of a heart attack is to restore the flow of blood to the heat muscle as fast as possible. There are two basic methods to do this.

1-Drugs called thrombolytics are quite effective.

Because most heart attacks are caused by clots forming within the coronary artery, dissolving the clot quickly will restore blood flow and remove the symptoms.

The sooner these drugs are given, the quicker the blood flow will be restored.


An alternative method involves the use of a angiogram– its a procedure that allows the visual display of the blockage on a computerized screen in the OR for the surgeon.  This is done through a special catheter with a camera at the end of it.

Commonly followed is a balloon angioplasty-this procedure is a balloon inflating and deflating breaking the blockage up on the computerized screen to make the blocked artery patent again to give good blood supply back to the area where the heart attack was.

Both angiogram and angioplasty is performed in the same surgical procedure.

This involves taking the heart attack victim promptly to the cardiac cath lab in the hospital.

An angiogram is performed to show the blocked blood vessel leading to the heart attack. Then a balloon catheter is placed across the blockage and flow is restored.

2-Stent – another common surgical procedure (this is a device that assists in holding the blood vessel open permanently or sometimes needs to be replaced). This is put in place where the artery needs to stay open, where the MI occurred, this creates a large channel for better blood supply to the area where the myocardial infarction occurred or close to it.

3-Bed rest and blood thinners – Smaller heart attacks, often those not producing significant abnormalities on the ECG are often treated with bedrest and blood thinners such as heparin or other meds to reduce the workload of the heart .  These heart attacks are called non-transmural myocardial infarctions. Before discharge, x-ray studies of the heart arteries are often carried out to see if angioplasty or surgery will be necessary.

Following thrombolytic (clot reducing) therapy, angiogram are often performed to outline the coronary anatomy to help determine if additional therapy such as angioplasty or bypass surgery is indicated. This may be done during the initial hospitalization or later as an outpatient procedure.

Following the treatment would be frequent cardiac visits to the cardiologist at first for follow up visits to than q3mths to q6mths to than just yearly if things all go well.  The M.D. will know the answer to that.

Complications that are often related to the damage done to your heart during a heart attack, which can lead to:

1-Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias). Electrical “short circuits” can develop, resulting in abnormal heart rhythms, some of which can be serious, and may lead to death.

2-Heart failure. A heart attack might damage so much heart tissue that the remaining heart muscle can’t pump enough blood out of your heart. Heart failure can be temporary, or it can be a chronic condition resulting from extensive and permanent damage to your heart.

3-Sudden cardiac arrest. Without warning, your heart stops due to an electrical disturbance that causes an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia). Heart attacks increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest, which can cause death without immediate treatment.


“A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, happens when a part of the heart muscle doesn’t get enough blood.

The more time that passes without treatment to restore blood flow, the greater the damage to the heart muscle.”

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

What happens when someone has a heart attack or myocardial infarction:


A heart attack is a frightening experience. If you have experienced a heart attack, or are close with someone who has, you should know this: You are not alone. In fact, tens of thousands of people survive heart attacks and go on to lead productive, enjoyable lives.

What happens when a heart attach occurs:

First like has stated this past week and before in previous articles remember ANY organ without 02-oxygen will die.  When this happens high risk a infarction will occur.  If this occurs in the brain its a brain infarction; if this occurs in the heart it is called a heart attack medically known as a myocardial infarction.

When you have a heart attack part of the heart tissue dies.  Your heart muscle needs oxygen to survive. A heart attack occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely.

A heart attack occurs when the flow of blood to an area of the heart is blocked. The blockage is most often a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances, which form a plaque in the arteries that feed that area of the heart (coronary arteries).

Sometimes, a plaque can rupture and form a clot that blocks blood flow. The interrupted blood flow can damage or destroy part of the heart muscle.

Also a condition called Atrial Fibrillation (AF), a type of a cardiac rhythm,  a very common type.  This AF can cause pooling of the blood in the chanmbers of the heart due to the irregular heart beat overtime not diagnosed or treated yet.  Overtime this pooling of blood can create a clot putting the heart at risk for complications.  The bulk of evidence in research demonstrates that AF patients hospitalized for AMI have serious adverse prognostic implications regarding in-hospital, but also long-term mortality.

A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, can be fatal, but treatment has improved dramatically over the years. It’s crucial to call 911 or emergency medical help if you think you might be saving a heart attack.

The sooner you get to an emergency room, the sooner you can get treatment to reduce the amount of damage to the heart muscle. At the hospital, health care professionals can run tests to find out if a heart attack is happening and decide the best treatment.

In some cases, a heart attack requires cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or an electrical shock (defibrillation) to the heart to get the heart pumping again. Bystanders trained to use CPR or a defibrillator may be able to help until emergency medical personnel arrive.

Remember, the chances of surviving a heart attack are better the sooner emergency treatment begins.

Common Symptoms of a Heart Attack:

  • Chest pain or discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center or left side of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
  • Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint. You may also break out into a cold sweat.
  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms or shoulders.
  • Shortness of breath. This often comes along with chest discomfort, but shortness of breath also can happen before chest discomfort.

*Other symptoms of a heart attack could include unusual or unexplained tiredness and nausea or vomiting. Women are more likely to have these other symptoms.*


A heart attack occurs when one or more of your coronary arteries becomes blocked. Over time, a buildup of fatty deposits, including cholesterol, form substances called plaques, which can narrow the arteries (atherosclerosis). This condition, called coronary artery disease, causes most heart attacks.

During a heart attack, a plaque can rupture and spill cholesterol and other substances into the bloodstream. A blood clot forms at the site of the rupture. If the clot is large, it can block blood flow through the coronary artery, starving the heart of oxygen and nutrients (ischemia).

You might have a complete or partial blockage of the coronary artery.

  • A complete blockage means you’ve had an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).
  • A partial blockage means you’ve had a non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI).