Most heart attacks are caused by a blood clot that blocks one of the coronary arteries. The coronary arteries bring blood and oxygen to the heart. If the blood flow is blocked, the heart starves for oxygen and heart cells die. In atherosclerosis, plaque builds up in the walls of your coronary arteries. This plaque is made up of cholesterol and other cells.
An uncommon cause of a heart attack is a spasm of a coronary artery that shuts down blood flow to part of the heart muscle. Drugs, such as cocaine, can cause such a life-threatening spasm.
There are also certain factors which may lead to heart attack include:
- Men who are 45 or older and women who are 55 and older
- People who smoke
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Family history of heart attack