Acute Coronary Syndrome

Acute coronary syndrome happens when your heart is suddenly not getting enough blood. It includes both unstable angina and heart attack. It is an emergency and must be treated right away. The first sign of acute coronary syndrome may be cardiac arrest – the sudden stopping of your heart – and it is often diagnosed in an emergency room or hospital.

Symptoms of acute coronary syndrome are the same as those of a heart attack. You should call 911 immediately if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Chest pain, burning, pressure or tightness
  • Sudden, heavy sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in your back, neck, jaw or arm
  • Nausea or vomiting

Acute coronary syndrome often occurs because of plaque building up in the arteries in your heart. This makes the arteries harden and narrow, which makes it hard for blood to flow through them. A heart attack happens when the blood flow to the heart is completely blocked.

The risk factors for acute coronary syndrome are similar to those for other types of heart disease. Acute coronary syndrome risk factors include:

  • Older age (older than 45 for men and older than 55 for women)
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Family history of heart disease or stroke


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Symptoms and Screenings for Acute Coronary Syndrome

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Causes and Preventions for Acute Coronary Syndrome

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Education and Resources for Acute Coronary Syndrome

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Support groups for Acute Coronary Syndrome

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Learn More about Acute Coronary Syndrome

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