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What are some causes of heart attacks?

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Quick Answer

Causes of heart attacks include coronary artery disease and a coronary artery spasm, according to Mayo Clinic. Spontaneous coronary artery dissection, which is a condition in which one of the heart arteries tears, may also result in heart attack.

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Full Answer

Coronary artery disease is the main cause of heart attacks, notes Mayo Clinic. It results from gradual blockage or narrowing of the coronary arteries, which occurs when substances such as cholesterol and other plaques accumulate in the coronary arteries. When one of the plaques rupture, the cholesterol enters the blood, and the rupture turns into a clot, which may cause complete blockage of the coronary artery, depriving the heart of oxygen and other nutrients necessary for its normal functioning. Coronary artery spasm causes heart attack by depriving a section of cardiac muscle of blood supply. A spasm of a coronary artery may result from substances such as cocaine and tobacco.

Heart attack is a condition in which the cardiac muscle becomes damaged as a result of insufficient supply of blood to the heart, states Mayo Clinic. Factors that may predispose an individual to heart attack include obesity, stress and diabetes. It is advisable to seek immediate medical attention in case of a suspected heart attack to avoid possible complications such as heart failure, heart rupture and arrhythmias.

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