A myocardial infarct is the medical term for a heart attack. The heart muscle tissue, or myocardium, requires a constant supply of oxygen and blood to function. If the arteries are somehow blocked and are not cleared in time the myocardium may undergo infarction (cell damage or death).
The arteries are blocked because of blood clots. These hardened clumps of blood cells are supposed to heal damaged blood vessels, but they only cause damage when they restrict access to vital organs. Whatever mass of tissue that was supposed to be supplied with blood by the now clotted vessel dies, and when that tissue is heart muscle it may cause one to myocardial infarct.
These clots occur because of a buildup of plaque, formed of lipids like “bad cholesterol”, along the arteries' walls. Some of this plaque may rupture and fall into the blood stream, and so a blood clot begins to form in the only area left open by the plaque's presence. There are a few factors that a person may control that prevent them from having a myocardial infarct, and eating foods with saturated fats and trans fats is one of them.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation has identified smoking along with cardiovascular disease as another known factor that may lead one to have a myocardial infarct. Smoking both damages the cells lining the walls of the arteries and heart, resulting in plaque falling off into blood clots, as well as being directly responsible for platelets in the blood to clump together to form clots because of the chemicals contained within them.
Hypertension is also responsible for myocardial infarcts. For people with high blood pressure, blood must flow through narrow arteries and the heart has to work harder than usual. Already under stress, the heart may not be able to deal with any new blood clots and a myocardial infraction would occur.
Obesity may increase the chances of a myocardial infarct, and so one should regularly exercise to control weight and help prevent heart attacks. Be careful, though. Heart attacks often occur during periods of strenuous physical activity since the heart has to work much harder and pump blood much faster than usual, potentially dislodging platelets and falling prey to blood clots. Talk to your doctor if you have a known heart condition and are considering exercising to help prevent a myocardial infarct from occurring.
Heart attacks are life threatening and a common occurrence for people over 60. Taking proper care of your body, exercising regularly, eating well and not smoking would all help prevent blood clots from forming and ultimately a myocardial infarct from occurring.