One question that often puzzles people is the difference between a heart attack, heart failure and cardiac arrest. No matter how similar they appear in their names, all three are different things and their symptoms, causes and results vary. The death of Sushma Swaraj, former External Affairs Minister due to cardiac attack pulled up many questions about the difference between Cardiac arrest and heart attack. People often think all three of the terms are the same, which is not true. Some of the top heart specialists in India explain:
What is Cardiac Arrest?
Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops functioning completely. It is when the electrical impulses stop which means, the heart cannot beat any longer. Therefore, a cardiac arrest is the abrupt loss of heart function in a person who may or may not has diagnosed heart disease. Since it’s abrupt, the time and mode of death are unexpected.
It occurs instantly or shortly after symptoms appear. However, in some cases, there are chances of the heart being revived via electrical impulses by providing shocks artificially.
What to do: Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Cardiac arrest is reversible in most victims if it’s treated within a few minutes. You should follow the steps given below:
- Call the ambulance immediately.
- Get an automated external defibrillator if one is available and use it as soon as it arrives.
- Begin CPR immediately and continue until professional emergency medical services arrives.
- If two people are available to help, one should begin CPR immediately while the other calls the ambulance.
Make sure you read about: CPR Steps to help save a life.
What is a Heart Attack?
People often ask, as to what is a heart attack? We have the answer for all you folks. A heart attack also called a myocardial infarction, an MI or, to use more old-fashioned terms, a coronary, this occurs when the blood supply to the heart muscle suddenly goes wrong, starving it of oxygen and causing the muscle to die. This happens when one of the heart’s own blood vessels gets clogged.
The intensity of the heart attack depends on how big the clog is, which will also tell us, how much of the heart muscles have died. And, according to one of the best cardiologists in Mumbai, the most common reason for a heart attack is the formation of blood clots, which gets stuck to one of the heart’s blood vessels resulting in blockage.
It is more likely to happen if you are a male, a smoker, older, overweight if you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
What to do: Heart Attack
In most of the cases, people experience symptoms to a heart attack which they ignore more often than not. Nonetheless, even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, make sure you call the ambulance as soon as possible. Remember, every minute matter!
What is the link between a Cardiac Arrest & Heart Attack?
These two distinct heart conditions i.e. cardiac arrest and a heart attack are linked. A sudden cardiac arrest can often occur after a heart attack, or during recovery. The latter increases the risk of a sudden cardiac arrest.
It is also important to note that most heart attacks do not lead t a sudden cardiac arrest. But when a sudden cardiac arrest occurs, a heart attack is a common cause. Other heart conditions such as thickened heart muscle, arrhythmias, ventricular fibrillation and heart failure may also disrupt the heart’s rhythm and lead to a sudden cardiac arrest.
Also, read about: Symptoms of Heart Attack.
What is Heart Failure?
The term heart failure can be quite misleading.
‘Heart inefficiency’ would be a better term to use.
It refers to the heart acting as a pump. When the heart beats, it squeezes a specific amount of blood. If one has a heart failure, the pump becomes less efficient and is unable to cope up with the squeezing of heart which results in pumping less blood, each time. It does not necessarily mean that the heart is going to stop working at any time. It just means it’s not working as efficiently it should work.
Watch the video: Dr. Subrata Lahri Consultant at the department of Intervention Cardiology in Delhi Heart and Lung Institute, New Delhi, explain about the precautions one should take on how to prevent a heart attack and cardiac arrest.
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