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A heart attack occurs when the flow of blood and oxygen to an area of the heart is blocked. The coronary arteries supply blood and oxygen the muscle of the heart. Heart attacks most commonly occur when plaque ruptures and a blood clot forms inside the artery, suddenly stopping the blood flow through the artery. The symptoms of a heart attack vary but can include chest, neck, jaw or arm discomfort, nausea and vomiting, sweating, shortness of breath or loss of conciousness. When the heart muscle does not get enough blood and oxygen it begins to die. The amount of damage increases the longer blood flow is prevented and may not be reversible. If enough damage occurs, the heart may be weak; a condition called heart failure.
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