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Conditions & Services / Heart Attack

Cardiologists & Vascular Specialists located in Dallas Fort Worth and the North Texas Region

Heart Attack

About Heart Attack

Every year, more than 800,000 people in the United States have a heart attack, a life-threatening event that most people can prevent. The exceptional cardiologists at HeartPlace offer comprehensive care, from risk assessments and heart attack prevention to treating your heart attack, opening clogged coronary arteries, and ongoing support during your recovery after a heart attack. To get compassionate care for your heart and expert heart attack treatment, call one of the 30 offices across North Texas, or book an appointment online today.

Heart Attack Q & A

What causes a heart attack?

A heart attack, also called myocardial infarction, occurs when the supply of oxygen-rich blood to your heart stops. The loss of oxygen kills muscle cells, so the muscles stop working, and you have a heart attack.

The blood supply ceases due to the buildup of fatty plaque in an artery, a condition called atherosclerosis. When the plaque ruptures, a blood clot forms and blocks the blood from flowing to your heart.

What symptoms develop during a heart attack?

Chest pain is the primary symptom of a heart attack. However, the pain's severity differs for each person. Some people have mild discomfort or severe chest pain, while others have chest pain at all.

Other symptoms often appearing during a heart attack include:

  • Chest pressure or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in your jaw, neck, shoulder, or upper back
  • Severe indigestion or heartburn
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fatigue (often the day before a heart attack)

Women experience difficulty breathing, nausea, fatigue, and pain in other parts of their upper body more often than men.

If you think you're having a heart attack, call 911 immediately. The emergency medical responders begin life-saving treatment before you reach the hospital.

Can I prevent a heart attack?

In most cases, you can prevent a heart attack by avoiding risk factors such as:

  • Hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Lack of exercise
  • Drinking too much alcohol

Your provider at HeartPlace assesses your risk factors and develops a treatment plan to help you prevent a heart attack.

What happens after a heart attack?

In the emergency department, you receive treatments such as medications, oxygen therapy, and in many cases, cardiac catheterization to open the clogged artery and restore normal circulation to the heart.

After you leave the hospital, you start cardiac rehabilitation. The team at HeartPlace provides comprehensive care, from regular checkups and medical care to interventional treatments when needed, to maintain arterial health.

Your provider creates a recovery treatment plan that includes one or more of the following:

  • Taking anticoagulant medications
  • Taking anti-clotting medications
  • Lowering high blood pressure
  • Lowering high cholesterol
  • Controlling blood sugar
  • Following a healthy eating plan
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Managing your stress
  • Stopping smoking
  • Losing weight

You may need medications for underlying conditions like hypertension, high cholesterol, or other heart conditions.

If you need compassionate care for preventing or recovering from a heart attack, call HeartPlace or book an appointment online today.