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What is a Heart Attack?

A heart attack is when the heart muscle is injured or damaged. This is also called a myocardial infarction (MI). The most common reason people have a heart attack is because a blood clot forms in the vessel supplying blood to the heart muscle, severely limiting the supply of essential oxygen and nutrients. The blood clot will typically occur because an area of cholesterol plaque in the vessel has become unstable and ruptures, much like a volcano would erupt. The body reacts to this eruption by trying to form a clot and seal off the ruptured plaque. Unfortunately these clots will often completely block, or severely limit, the flow of blood to the heart muscle. Damage to the heart muscle can begin to occur in as little as 20 minutes. 

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