Heart Attack-Causes & Risk Factors
Most heart attacks are caused by a blood clot that blocks one of the coronary arteries. The coronary arteries bring blood and oxygen to the
heart. If the blood flow is blocked, the heart get starved for oxygen and heart cells die.
In atherosclerosis, plaque builds up in the walls of the coronary arteries. This plaque is made up of cholesterol and other cells.
A heart attack can occur because of the following:
- The slow buildup of plaque may almost block one of your coronary arteries. A heart attack may occur if not enough oxygen-containing blood can flow through this blockage. This is more likely to happen while exercising.
- The plaque itself develops cracks (fissures) or tears. Blood platelets stick to these tears and form a blood clot (thrombus). A heart attack can occur if this blood clot completely blocks the passage of oxygen-rich blood to the heart.
Occasionally, sudden overwhelming stress can trigger a heart attack.
Risk factors for heart attack and coronary artery disease include Increasing age (over age 65), Male gender, Diabetes, Family history of coronary artery disease (genetic or hereditary factors), High blood pressure, Smoking, Too much fat in your diet, Unhealthy cholesterol levels, especially high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and low HDL (“good”) cholesterol and Chronic kidney disease.