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Heart Attack

Experienced New Orleans Cardiologists

You’ve no doubt heard of a heart attack, but do you know what a heart attack actually is? Heart attacks are still a common health complication in the United States and this is partly because few people are aware of the factors that can lead up to a heart attack. Understanding what a heart attack is can be helpful.

Heart attacks occur when arteries get clogged with plaque and interrupt blood flow to the heart. The heart becomes damaged when it is cut off from blood and will continue to degrade for as long as the blood flow is cut off. Anyone who displays symptoms of a heart attack needs to visit an emergency room immediately.

Symptoms of a heart attack

Many people will experience a heart attack without warning. Plaque buildup in blood vessels (a condition called atherosclerosis) does not have any symptoms, so few people are aware their heart is in any danger. There are several telltale signs that a heart attack is occurring.

The following are some signs of a heart attack:

  • A tight, squeezing feeling in the chest
  • Nausea and stomach pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat
  • Lightheadedness and/or dizziness
  • Discomfort in other areas of the body such as the arm, neck, or shoulder

These symptoms vary from person to person, and having one or two symptoms could be the sign of something other than a heart attack. One of the most common signs is chest pain, which may go on for days or even weeks before the heart attack occurs. If your family has a history of heart disease then there is an increased risk that you will as well.


After you have received medical treatment and recovered from the immediate danger of a heart attack, the next step is to take measures to prevent this from happening again. The heart weakens after a heart attack, but it can recover if you make certain lifestyle changes. It is very important you do this under the guidance of a medical professional. Remember, your heart is weakened after an attack. You may think it will be helpful to immediately start an intense workout routine, but this can actually overwork the weakened heart. At West Jefferson Medical Center, we offer personalized cardiac rehabilitation programs to help patients get back on their feet.

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