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Heart Attack

Your coronary arteries are the major blood vessels that supply your heart with blood, oxygen and nutrients. When these arteries become damaged or diseased — usually due to a buildup of fatty deposits called plaques — it's known as coronary artery disease.

These deposits can slowly narrow your coronary arteries, causing your heart to receive less blood. Eventually, diminished blood flow may cause chest pain (angina), shortness of breath or other symptoms. A complete blockage, caused either by accumulated plaques or a ruptured plaque, can cause a heart attack.

Because coronary artery disease often develops over decades, it can go virtually unnoticed until it produces a heart attack. But there's plenty you can do to prevent and treat coronary artery disease. Start by committing to a healthy lifestyle.

Years ago, a heart attack was often fatal. Thanks to better awareness of heart attack signs and symptoms and improved treatments, most people who have a heart attack now survive.

Your overall lifestyle — what you eat, how often you exercise and the way you deal with stress — plays a role in your recovery from a heart attack. In addition, a healthy lifestyle can help you prevent a first or subsequent heart attack by controlling risk factors that contribute to the narrowing of the coronary arteries that supply blood to your heart.

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