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A myocardial infarction (commonly called a heart attack) is an extremely dangerous condition that happens because of a lack of blood flow to your heart muscle. The lack of blood flow can occur because of many different factors but is usually related to a blockage in one or more of your heart’s arteries. Without blood flow, the affected heart muscle will begin to die. If blood flow isn’t restored quickly, a heart attack can cause permanent heart damage and death.

A heart attack is a life-threatening emergency. If you suspect you or someone you’re with is having a heart attack, call your local emergency services phone number). Time is critical in treating a heart attack, and a delay of even a few minutes can result in permanent heart damage or death.

What does a heart attack feel like?

When a heart attack happens, blood flow to a part of your heart stops or is far below normal, which causes injury or death to that part of your heart muscle. When a part of your heart can’t pump because it’s dying from lack of blood flow, it can disrupt the pumping sequence for your entire heart. That reduces or even stops blood flow to the rest of your body, which can be deadly if it isn’t corrected quickly.

What are the symptoms of Myocardial Infarction?

Heart attacks can have a number of symptoms, some of which are more common than others. Men and people assigned male at birth (AMAB) are likely to have different heart attack symptoms than women and people assigned female at birth (AFAB).

Symptoms of a heart attack that people describe most often include:

  • Chest pain (angina). This can be mild and feel like discomfort or heaviness, or it can be severe and feel like crushing pain. It may start in your chest and spread (or radiate) to other areas like your left arm (or both arms), shoulder, neck, jaw, back, or down toward your waist.
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing.
  • Fatigue.
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia).
  • Nausea or stomach discomfort. Heart attacks can often be mistaken for indigestion or heartburn.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Anxiety or a feeling of “impending doom.”
  • Sweating.
  • Feeling lightheaded, dizzy, or passing out.

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