John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
A heart attack is caused by coronary heart disease, or coronary artery disease. Heart disease may be caused by cholesterol buildup in the coronary arteries (atherosclerosis), blood clots, or spasm of the vessels that supply blood to the heart.
Postmenopausal women are at higher risk than premenopausal women. This is thought to be due to loss of the protective effects of the hormone estrogen at
menopause. It was previously treated by hormone supplements (hormone replacement therapy, or HRT). However, research findings have changed our thinking on
HRT; long-term HRT is no longer recommended for most women.
Use of cocaine and similar stimulants.
Angina may be caused by spasm, narrowing, or partial blockage of an artery that supplies blood to the heart.
The most common cause is coronary heart disease, in
which a blood clot or buildup of fatty material inside the blood vessel
(atherosclerosis) reduces blood flow but does not completely block the blood
Angina can be triggered by exercise or physical exertion, by
emotional stress, or by certain
heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias) that cause the heart to beat very fast.
Aortic Dissection Causes
Aortic dissection may be caused by conditions that damage the innermost lining of the aorta.
These include uncontrolled high blood pressure, connective-tissue diseases, cocaine use, advanced age,
pregnancy, congenital heart disease, and cardiac catheterization (a medical procedure).
Men are at higher risk than women.
A similar condition is aortic aneurysm. This is an enlargement of the aorta that can rupture, causing pain and bleeding. Aneurysms can occur in the aorta in the chest or the abdomen.
Women who use birth control pills and smoke cigarettes are at higher risk than women who have only one or neither of these risk factors (especially over the age of 35).
Spontaneous Pneumothorax Causes
(collapsed lung) occurs when the pressure balance between the sac that contains the lung and the outside atmosphere is disrupted.
Injury to the chest that pierces through to the lung
sac is the most common cause of this condition.
This can be caused by trauma, as in a car wreck, bad
fall, gunshot wound or stabbing, or in surgery.
Some very thin and tall people may suffer a
spontaneous pneumothorax due to stretched lung tissues and abnormal air sacs
in the upper portions of their lungs. It is possible for these abnormal air
sacs to rupture with even a sneeze or excessive coughing.