We often hear the terms "heart attack" and "coronary heart disease" used together, leading to confusion about their relationship. While these conditions are closely connected, it's important to understand their different nature.

Heart Attacks Explained

A heart attack occurs when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to the heart becomes blocked. Over time, fatty deposits known as plaques build up in the heart's arteries. When a plaque ruptures, a blood clot can form at the site of the rupture. This clot can block the artery, causing a heart attack. During a heart attack, the lack of blood flow leads to the death of heart muscle tissue.

The Role of Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of heart attacks. It is a condition that develops when the major blood vessels (coronary arteries) supplying the heart become damaged or diseased. This damage is often caused by inflammation and the buildup of cholesterol-containing plaques.

A heart attack is also sometimes referred to as a Myocardial Infarction (MI).

Connecting the Dots: How CHD Leads to Heart Attacks?

Before a heart attack occurs, one of the plaques in a coronary artery ruptures. This rupture triggers the formation of a blood clot at the site. If this clot blocks the artery, it can cut off blood supply to the heart, resulting in a heart attack.

Other Risk Factors for Heart Attacks

While CHD is a significant risk factor, it's not the sole contributor to heart attacks. Other conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and even family history can also increase your risk.

Invest In Your Self-Care

Understanding this connection is essential for prevention and treatment. While certain risk factors, such as family history, age, or gender, cannot be changed, there are lifestyle choices we can make to reduce our risk of coronary heart disease and heart attacks. Eating a good diet, being physically active, managing stress, not smoking, monitoring cholesterol and blood pressure levels can all help to minimize the risk. So, taking care of our heart isn't just about avoiding heart attacks; it's about living a better and healthier life overall.