Odds are, you or someone you love will have a heart attack, also known as a myocardial infraction or MI. Heart attacks occur about every 35 seconds in the United States, and most occur in the morning, a time when the platelets in the blood are especially "sticky" and prone to form clots. "Many people are awakened by a heart attack at four in the morning," says Sharonne Hayes, MD, director of the Mayo Clinic's Women's Heart Clinic. At least one study, however, has found that morning isn't a prime time for heart attacks among people who regularly take aspirin, which helps keep platelets from sticking together.
While treatments for heart attacks are more effective than ever, half of all deaths still occur within one hour after a heart attack. That means getting to a hospital should be priority one if you or someone else experiences the first symptoms of a heart attack. How well you respondand how fastis a matter of life and death.