Frequently Asked Questions

What is a heart attack and the symptoms of a heart attack?

A heart attack refers to the death of heart muscle tissue caused by a sudden arterial blockage, which is usually the formation of a clot on top of a pre-existing buildup of cholesterol, called a plaque. The most common symptoms associated are chest, arm and neck pain. Current technology allows the re-opening of blocked arteries to preserve heart muscle and thereby heart function. It is therefore imperative that medical help be sought as soon as chest pain and associated symptoms occur.

The National Heart Attack Alert Program notes these major symptoms of a heart attack:

Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. This can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.

Shortness of breath. This often comes along with chest discomfort. But it also can occur before chest discomfort. Other symptoms. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat or experiencing nausea or light–headedness.

What is a stroke?

What should a bystander do if they think someone is having a heart attack?

What are the risk factors for heart disease?

What are some factors that put me at risk for cardiac problems?

What should I know about cholesterol?

Blood pressure: How high is too high?

What is stress testing?

What can I do to prevent heart disease? How do I manage risk factors for heart disease? 

What is the burden of heart disease in America?

What is the cost of heart disease for our nation?