Heart Attacks – Causes and Risk Factors

Zachary Lutsky
Zachary Lutsky

An experienced emergency physician, Dr. Zachary Lutsky is trained to provide lifesaving care to patients undergoing heart attacks and other urgent health events, as he did during his service at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. In preparation for his career, Dr. Zachary Lutsky underwent his emergency medicine residency at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in nearby Torrance.

A heart attack occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood supplied by the coronary arteries is blocked or reduced, imperiling heart function. If enough damage occurs, the heart goes into arrest, which can quickly lead to death. Patients with coronary artery disease have a buildup on the artery wall called plaque, made up of fat, proteins and other material. When the plaque cracks, the body sends blood-clotting factors to the site. The resulting clot can interrupt blood flow to the heart, giving rise to a heart attack. Coronary artery spasms, a less common cause,also interrupt blood flow to the heart.

Some risk factors for heart attack include uncontrollable issues like age and family history. However, many other factors are related to lifestyle and can be addressed by changes in behavior, like quitting smoking, adopting a healthier diet, and exercising.

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