Heart Attack Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Heart Attack Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention


A heart attack is often referred to as a myocardial infarction. A heart attack occurs when the heart loses oxygen due to a sudden blockage in an artery that supplies blood to the heart.

The human body basically has various types of blood vessels and arteries are one of them. Its main function is to distribute blood throughout the body. As conduits for blood, arteries should remain open. However, several conditions occur when there is a blockage that prevents blood from flowing, including to the heart. This condition makes the heart stop instantly.

Myocardial infarction is an emergency and requires immediate treatment. Even a heart attack is one of the most common causes of death in the world.


Heart attacks always occur suddenly. However, there are actually several signs that usually appear before a heart attack occurs, such as:

  • chest pain generally feels like a heavy object is pressed
  • pain in other parts, where a heart attack can cause pain that radiates to the arms (usually the left arm), jaw, neck, shoulders, and stomach
  • headache or lightheadedness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • breathing difficulties
  • cold sweat


Heart attacks occur because there is no oxygen supply that enters the heart with blood.

The heart organ consists of muscles and requires an adequate supply of oxygen to work properly. This oxygen supply should be delivered by the coronary arteries which can be found around the heart. With age, the inside of the coronary arteries can be damaged and narrowed by plaque deposits, which is called atherosclerosis

Plaque can occur in stable and unstable states. In stable plaque, when the coronary arteries narrow, there can be less conducting (oxygenated) blood flow. This causes symptoms of pain or discomfort in the chest, which is called angina.

In an unstable plaque state, the surface of the plaque can be torn so that the body tries to close it by making a blood clot. These clots can cause total or partial blockage of the coronary arteries.

As a result, the coronary arteries cannot deliver oxygen-rich blood to the heart, so it is called a heart attack. If not treated immediately, the part of the heart muscle that lacks oxygen can be damaged.


In determining the diagnosis of a heart attack, a detailed history or medical interview will be carried out regarding the symptoms and physical examination. In addition, several additional checks can be carried out, such as:

  • An electrocardiogram (EKG), to see the electrical activity of the heart
  • blood tests (especially to check for cardiac enzymes released if there is muscle damage)
  • angiography


Handling of cases of heart attack is very dependent on the period of time, namely from the beginning of the appearance of symptoms until the time of starting treatment. Actions that can be taken include:

  • If symptoms are felt Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI).
  • If symptoms are felt
  • If symptoms persist for >12 hours, there are several options. For example PCI, drugs, by pass, and so on.

Some of the treatment options that can be offered include:

  • Drugs:
    • Thrombolytics are used to break up blood clots that are blocking arteries
    • blood thinner
    • anti-hypertensive
    • anti-lipid, to lower cholesterol levels
    • other medicines according to your symptoms and health condition
  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), placing a balloon to widen the blocked artery.
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) or bypass, namely taking blood vessels from other parts of the body and installing them in the heart area with the aim of bypassing or cutting parts of the coronary arteries that cannot conduct blood.


Efforts to prevent heart attacks can be done by adopting a healthy lifestyle, either by following a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Consumption of foods that are high in fat can worsen the condition and increase the risk of heart attack.

In addition, several behaviors related to an unhealthy lifestyle are also thought to increase the risk of heart attack. For example smoking habits and excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages. Therefore, it is important to stop these bad habits in order to reduce the risk of heart attack in the future.

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