Many Factors Lead to Heart Attacks
Dear Doctor: At age 43, my husband had a heart attack. No one in his family has had one. His father is alive and active at age 83. My husband was a faithful jogger and a nonsmoker. He ate healthy foods. How could he have had a heart attack? Could it be stress? He worked 80 hours a week.
Answer: Stress is a factor in some heart attacks. For most heart attacks, many factors are found. Your husband tried to lead a healthy life. He did many things that are supposed to protect a person from heart attacks.
Things you did not mention were his cholesterol and blood pressure. If both were normal, then stress is a reasonable answer.
Stress causes the release of stress hormones. Over a long period of time, those hormones are destructive. They make blood platelets sticky. Sticky platelets cause clots to form in the heart arteries.
Clots block the flow of blood to the heart. Blood carries oxygen to the cells. Cells die without oxygen. Dead cells mean a damaged heart. Over 90% of heart attacks are caused by a blood clot.