What Causes a Heart Attack

What Causes a Heart Attack
A heart attack occurs when one or more of the arteries supplying your heart with oxygen-rich
blood (coronary arteries) become blocked. Over time, a coronary artery can narrow from the
inside due to a buildup of a fatty substance call plaque. This condition is called coronary artery
disease (CAD), the major underlying cause of heart attacks.
Eventually, a plaque site can rupture. The body responds by sending platelets, forming a blood
clot at the rupture site. If the clot becomes large enough, it can impede or even block the flow of
blood through the artery. Heart muscle that is downstream from the clot can begin to die and
form scar tissue due to the lack of blood flow.
When not fatal, heart attacks can damage the heart and result in a number of maladies such as
life-threatening arrhythmias or conjestive heart failure, where the heart is unable to pump
enough blood to the body. Prompt treatment not only saves lives, but also improves
quality-of-life by limiting the cardiac damage caused by heart attacks.