Heart Attack

What is a Heart Attack? 

A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction or MI, is caused by severe blockage in a coronary artery. The coronary arteries provide blood flow to the heart. If not treated quickly, the portion of the heart muscle that isn't getting enough blood will begin to die. This leads to a heart attack. A heart attack can lead to heart failure, dangerous abnormal heart rhythms or sudden death.

In the United States, heart attacks are a leading cause of death for both men and women.

Heart Attack Risk Factors 

Risk factors for heart attack include:

Heart Attack Symptoms 

The most common heart attack warning sign is chest pain. Other symptoms of heart attack may include:

  • Pressure, squeezing or fullness in the center of the chest
  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Pain in the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sudden excessive sweating
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

When to Call 911 

If you're having heart attack symptoms, it's important to call 911 right away. Early treatment for a heart attack can save your life.

Heart Attack Prevention 

Treating risk factors for heart disease is the best way to prevent a heart attack. To decrease your heart attack risk, you'll need to eat a heart-healthy diet and exercise regularly. Your doctor may prescribe medications to help reduce cholesterol and to control your blood pressure and diabetes. Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, can also help to reduce your risk of heart attack.

After a Heart Attack 

If you've had a heart attack, a team of health care professionals at Wake Forest Baptist Health will use state-of-the-art equipment to diagnose your condition and take measures to help prevent further damage to your heart. Your team may include heart doctors (cardiologists), nurse specialists and others.

You may request an appointment with a Heart Center doctor by filling out our online form.

Learn more about Wake Forest Baptist's Heart Center services.

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Women’s Heart Health

Heart disease is the number one cause of death for men and women; yet, women traditionally believe their risk of death from breast cancer is more likely.

Last Updated: 02-14-2014
USNWR 2013-2014Magnet Hospital RecognitionConsumer Choice2014 Best DoctorsJoint Commission Report

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.