What Are the Main Causes of Heart Attacks?

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Typical causes of a heart attack include destruction of blood vessels, blood clotting and atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of plaque in the arteries, according to Healthline. Risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking and lack of physical activity, notes Mayo Clinic.

A heart attack results from the narrowing of coronary arteries due to the buildup of substances such as cholesterol. Cholesterol then ruptures and spills into the bloodstream, forming a blood clot that blocks the blood flow through the arteries, explains Mayo Clinic.

High blood pressure can damage coronary arteries, causing a heart attack. Insulin insensitivity or production of an insufficient amount of insulin can cause blood sugar to rise, increasing the risk of heart attack. Additionally, obesity can increase the risk of diabetes, hypertension and high blood cholesterol levels. Heart attack is more common in women aged 55 and above, men aged 45 and above, people who do not exercise and smokers. A family history of heart attack and autoimmune conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis can also contribute to heart attack, states Mayo Clinic.

Chest pain is the primary symptom of heart attack. Other symptoms include sweating, arm pain, headaches and heartburn. It is important to remember that a heart attack that causes mild symptoms can have the same adverse effects as a heart attack that causes severe symptoms. Patients experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately, advises MedicineNet.