What triggers heart attacks?
Sudden stress "" whether it's from anger, a heat wave, or getting out of bed "" can be the final "insult" that sets off a heart attack, stroke, or cardiac arrest.
Heart attacks, strokes, and cardiac arrests seem like they come out of the blue, but most don't. They usually appear after cholesterol-rich plaque has festered for decades in arteries nourishing the heart and brain. So what makes one happen at a particular time? A trigger.
Researchers have identified about two dozen of these. They're a diverse crew, ranging from anger and earthquakes to simply waking up in the morning. The ongoing search for triggers is generating ways to prevent potentially deadly cardiovascular events.