A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, occurs when a section of the heart muscle dies or gets damaged because of reduced blood supply. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the main cause of heart attack. A less common cause is a severe spasm of a coronary artery, which also can prevent blood supply from reaching the heart.
Heart attacks (myocardial infarctions) are the primary killer of Americans. According to a report from the American Heart Association, each year, about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these 525,000 are a first heart attack and 190,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack. Furthermore, about 15% of people who have a heart attack will die from it.
The National Heart Attack Alert Program explains the major signs for a heart attack:
If you think that you or someone you know is having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.
The primary risk factors for heart attack are due to lifestyle and genetics:
Furthermore, many studies have found that environmental air pollution also increases risk of heart attack. Even though air pollution is not one of the primary risk factors for heart attack, it is still a concern because so many people are exposed to air pollution throughout their lives. There are many kinds of air pollution, but particulate matter air pollution seems to be especially damaging to the heart and lungs. Sources of this type of air pollution include traffic, power plants, industrial combustion, metal processing and construction activities. There are also natural sources including windblown soil, forest fires, and molds.
You can reduce the risk of having a heart attack by losing weight, not smoking, exercising regularly, and having a healthy diet. People who are at risk for a heart attack should avoid strenuous activity in areas with elevated particulate air pollution, such as not jogging along a busy street. Regularly check the Utah Air Quality Index to avoid overexposure to air pollution.
The Utah EPHT Network receives admissions data from hospitals, obtained by the Emergency Department Encounter Database within the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services in the Utah Department of Health.
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