Health and Fitness

How a Heart Attack Can Affect Your Body

heart damage following heart attack

A heart attack, known medically as a myocardial infarction, is a serious and often fatal event in which blood stops flowing to the heart. In turn, muscle tissue dies, and the heart stops functioning properly. Anyone who thinks they might be experiencing a heart attack should seek emergency care as soon as possible. Timely intervention at a hospital can save your life. Also, long-term complications can be avoided when blood flow to the heart is quickly restored following an attack. Here is a brief overview of what causes heart attacks, their symptoms and how to recover.

What Happens During a Heart Attack

Coronary arteries are the blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart. When a heart attack occurs, one or more of the arteries is blocked and cannot deliver blood to the heart. In the absence of oxygen and nutrients, the heart muscles can die. Many underlying health issues can cause emergency blockages in the arteries. In the United States, atherosclerosis, the buildup of debris on the artery walls, is a serious risk factor for heart attacks. The most common symptom caused by a heart attack is chest pain. Pain associated with a heart attack usually begins in the chest and spreads to the left arm. Nausea, heartburn, and jaw pain are also signs of a heart attack.


After a heart attack, scar tissue forms in the heart where the muscle was deprived for too long and ultimately died. In areas of the heart where scar tissue has replaced healthy living tissue, the blood-pumping function is lost. The longer a heart attack blocks the blood supply, scar tissue can form, and less blood is pumped throughout the body. This is why timely treatment is so crucial. Although heart tissue that’s damaged during a heart attack cannot be regrown at the present time, medical researchers are looking into ways to possibly replace heart tissue in heart attack victims or to catalyze the body to regrow its heart cells.

Limit Further Problems

Keeping the coronary arteries open and fresh blood infusing the heart muscles is the key to recovering from a heart attack and preventing another one. Medication like aspirin and beta-blockers are commonly prescribed. Smoking cessation decreases the risk of another heart attack by half. Because stress is a major contributor to heart attack, taking up meditation and making other lifestyle changes can help.


Surviving a heart attack and going on to live a full life is possible with the right treatment and prevention strategies.

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