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Are You at Risk for a Heart Attack?

"About every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack," according to the American Heart Association. Our heart, which is basically a muscle, needs oxygen to survive and if oxygen is cut off to the heart muscle, you'll suffer from a heart attack.

Your Houston, TX, physician can tell you more about heart attacks and when you're at risk.

Fat, cholesterol and other substances buildup against the wall of arteries called in what's called plaque. When coronary arteries that directly supply the heart muscle with blood flow narrow from buildup, this slow process is called atherosclerosis.

What are the symptoms of a heart attack?

  • Pressure, tightness, pain, squeezing, or an aching sensation in your chest or arms.
  • Nausea, indigestion, heartburn, or abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness

More About Heart Attacks

  • You need to call for emergency medical help if you think you're having a heart attack. Call 911 if you don't have access to emergency medical services.
  • Take nitroglycerin when prescribed by your Houston doctor.
  • You need to take an aspirin, if recommended because aspirins reduce heart attacks by preventing blood from clotting.

What are some risk factors?

  • Age: Men 45 years or older and women age 55 years or older.
  • Tobacco: Smoking and/or long-term exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • High blood pressure: High blood pressure damages arteries.
  • Obesity: This is associated with high blood cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Losing weight can lower this risk.
  • Family history of heart attack: If siblings, parents or grandparents have had heart attacks, you might be at increased risk.
  • Stress: Take time to relax because stress is a silent killer.

If you would like to ask more questions about the condition of your heart and if you're at risk for a heart attack, then contact your Houston, TX, doctor today!