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A heart attack occurs every 40 seconds in America.

A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, occurs when a portion of the heart muscle does not receive enough blood.

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The longer the time goes without treatment, the more damage is done to the heart muscle. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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While coronary artery disease is the main cause of heart attacks, a severe spasm or sudden narrowing of a coronary artery can also block blood flow to the heart muscle.

Symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain or discomfort, feeling weak, feeling faint or light-headed, pain in one or both arms or shoulders, shortness of breath, and pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.

Women are more likely to experience symptoms of nausea, vomiting or unexplained fatigue.

Heart diseases are the leading cause of death globally, killing an estimated 17.9 million people each year, World Health Organization (WHO) report.

There are many factors to monitor that can increase a person’s risk of heart disease and heart attack.

About half of all Americans have at least one of the three major risk factors for heart disease, which include high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking.

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While some risk factors cannot be controlled, such as age or genetics, other dealings Which may increase the risk.

For example, eating a diet high in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol has been linked to heart disease and related conditions.

Too much salt in the diet can also raise blood pressure.

Not getting enough physical activity can lead to heart disease as well as increase your chances of having other medical conditions that are risk factors, such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Drinking too much alcohol can also raise blood pressure levels and increase the risk of heart disease and the level of triglycerides in the blood.

Tobacco use increases the risk of heart disease and heart attack.

The CDC states that while cigarette smoking can damage the heart and blood vessels, nicotine raises blood pressure and that carbon monoxide from cigarette smoke reduces the amount of oxygen that the blood can carry.

NS Mayo Clinic warns that illicit drug use – including stimulants such as cocaine or amphetamines – can trigger spasms of the coronary arteries.

Exposure to secondhand smoke can also increase the risk of heart disease.

People who experience symptoms of a heart attack should call 911 immediately.