How Common Are Heart Attacks?


As attending physician, Dr. Zachary Lutsky cares for people in need of emergent medical attention through several Emergency Departments in Los Angeles. Emergency physicians like Dr. Zachary Lutsky often save patients facing common life or death cardiac events.

A heart attack occurs when the body is no longer able to provide the heart muscle adequate blood to sustain its function. When deprived of blood, muscle cells begin to die, and if too many die, then the heart can no longer pump blood throughout the body, leading to death.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States heart attacks occur frequently, about once every 40 seconds. In a 12-month period, there are nearly 800,000 heart attack victims in America. Of those attacks, 580,000 happen in patients who have not had a heart attack before, and about 200,000 happen to people who’ve suffered a heart attack in the past.

Not all heart attacks are deadly. In fact, of the people who have a heart attack each year, only about 14 percent pass away as a result. It’s important if a person exhibits heart attack symptoms that emergency services are called immediately, as prompt medical intervention can save the person’s life.

Heart attacks manifest classic symptoms like pain radiating from the chest into the back, jaw, and neck. During a heart attack, people may also experience shortness of breath and nausea, among other symptoms.

Three Factors Contributing to Antibiotic Overprescription

Zachary Lutsky
Zachary Lutsky

Zachary Lutsky, MD, has been working as an emergency medicine physician for more than a decade. During this time he has cared for patients at several institutions, including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and earned board certification in emergency medicine. Beyond that, Zachary Lutsky, MD, has developed a professional interest in such topics as antibiotic overprescription.

According to research from the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly one in three prescriptions of antibiotics is unnecessary. This habit of over prescribing antibiotics contributes to the increasing number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Following are several things driving this unnecessary antibiotic use:

Patient satisfaction

When patients visits their doctors, they often expect that they will receive a prescription, regardless of whether the prescription is necessary or not. Some patients will demand that antibiotics be prescribed, while others won’t. Still, whether it’s perceived by the physician or real, the pressure for doctors to prescribe something to patients influences their decision to prescribe antibiotics more frequently.


Physicians aren’t always sure what’s making a patient sick. Often certain conditions, such as a cold, shares remarkably similar symptoms to more serious illnesses, like pneumonia. To protect their patients from an undiagnosed or misdiagnosed illness, many doctors will prescribe antibiotics as a safeguard.

Decision fatigue

Doctors are responsible for repeatedly diagnosing and treating many of the same conditions. This ultimately leads to decision fatigue, a situation that occurs when a physician’s decision-making abilities decline due to making repetitive choices about treatment. It’s believed that decision fatigue plays a role in the inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics, and interestingly, studies have shown that physicians are more likely to prescribe antibiotics later in their workday.

Commonly Overlooked Symptoms of Heart Attacks

Heart Attacks

A board certified emergency medicine physician, Zachary Lutsky received his MD from RFU/Chicago Medical School more than 15 years ago. Since then he has served as an attending physician at such institutions as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Santa Clara Valley Medical. Over the course of his career, Dr. Zachary Lutsky has dealt with such conditions as heart attacks.

Most people are familiar with the typical symptoms of a heart attack, such as pain in the arms and chest discomfort. However, not every heart attack victim experiences pain in these areas. In fact, some individuals have pain or aches in other areas of the body, including the neck, stomach, or jaw. This pain often appears after exercise and will disappear as someone rests, thus leading many people to believe the pain is exercise-related.

Beyond pain, individuals struggling with a heart-related problem may experience fatigue that is unrelated to medicines or illnesses. When heart-related, fatigue is often described as a general weakness in the body that is associated with subtle symptoms, including shortness of breath. Since these associated symptoms are often minimal, individuals often overlook them.

Another common symptom of heart attack that gets overlooked, particularly in women, is indigestion. While indigestion and other stomach issues are a common occurrence for some, they may also precede a heart attack. For this reason, individuals should always contact their doctor whenever they have any unexplained indigestion.