Heart Attack Vs. Cardiac Arrest: What Is The Difference?

Cured Heart Attack Vs. Cardiac Arrest



Often people mistake heart attack and cardiac arrest for being the same heart condition. But this is not the case. A heart attack differs from a cardiac arrest in terms of how it affects the heart, and also, the symptoms vary. 

It is first vital to comprehend what occurs in both of these processes in order to distinguish between a heart attack and a cardiac arrest. This blog will help you gain an insight into how these two heart conditions differ from each other and what to do to avoid a heart attack or a cardiac arrest from happening.


What is a Heart Attack?

A heart attack occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen supply to the heart is severely reduced or gets cut off entirely. Heart muscles require a constant, healthy supply of oxygen to function properly. This happens because coronary arteries that supply the heart muscle with blood flow become narrowed from a buildup of fat, cholesterol, and other substances that together are called plaque. When this plaque within a heart artery breaks, a blood clot forms around the plaque. This blood clot can block the blood flow through the artery to the heart muscle.

When the heart muscle is starved of oxygen for several hours, it results in a condition called ischemia. When damage or death of part of the heart muscle occurs as a result of ischemia, it’s called a heart attack or myocardial infarction (MI).


Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain, which is often a feeling of tightness in the center of the chest which may last for several minutes and will not decrease upon resting (although the most common symptom of a heart attack, not all patients having a heart attack will experience chest pain).

Other symptoms include the spreading of chest pain to other areas, most commonly to the arms, jaw, neck, back, and abdomen, as well as shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, feeling or being sick, anxiety, light-headedness or dizziness, sweating, weakness, Palpitations (noticeable heartbeats).


What is a Cardiac Arrest?

Sudden cardiac arrest typically happens without prior notice and strikes abruptly. A heart condition that results in an irregular heartbeat serves as the catalyst for it (arrhythmia). The heart's ability to pump blood to the brain, lungs, and other organs is impaired when its pumping function is disturbed. An individual loses consciousness a short while later and stops having a heartbeat. If the person doesn't get help, they'll expire in a matter of minutes.

During a cardiac arrest, the heart completely stops, which results in the absence of a pulse. This results in a lack of blood reaching the body's organs, which can be fatal. 


Symptoms of a Cardiac Arrest

Symptoms of a cardiac arrest include a sudden loss of consciousness/responsiveness, no breathing, and no pulse. The lack of pulse is caused by the heart actually stopping during a cardiac arrest. As a consequence of this, the organs of the body are deprived of blood which can lead to death. Some of the signs exhibited before a cardiac arrest are chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, dizziness, palpitations, and nausea.


What is the link between a Cardiac Arrest and a Heart Attack?

These two various heart problems are related. During recuperation or after a heart attack, a cardiac arrest can happen. The risk of unexpected cardiac arrest is increased by heart attacks. The majority of heart attacks do not result in sudden cardiac death. But a heart attack is a frequent cause of abrupt cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest can also result from other heart disorders that alter the heart's rhythm. These include heart failure, ventricular fibrillation, in particular, thickening heart muscle (cardiomyopathy), and lengthy Q-T syndrome.


What to do if you experience a heart attack?

Call 911 or your emergency response number even if you're not convinced it's a heart attack. It's advisable to call EMS to head straight to the emergency room. Staff from the emergency medical services can start providing care as soon as they get there, up to an hour sooner than if someone drives themselves to the hospital. A person whose heart has stopped can be revived by EMS personnel as well. Ambulance-arrived patients with chest discomfort typically receive speedier care at the hospital. The best way to prevent the case from escalating is to loosen the clothes of the person suffering from a heart attack and make them sit up. This can be done as a first-aid response until help arrives. 


What to do if you experience a cardiac arrest?

Most victims of cardiac arrest can recover if they receive treatment within a few minutes. Make an emergency medical care call at 911 first. If an automatic external defibrillator is available, then get one and utilize it as soon as it is delivered. CPR should be started right away and continued until emergency medical personnel arrive. If there are two individuals available to assist, one should start CPR right away while the other dials 911 and locates an AED. Over 320,000 cardiac arrests outside of hospitals happen each year in the United States, making sudden cardiac arrest one of the top causes of mortality.


How To Avoid Heart Diseases?

By leading a heart-healthy lifestyle, you can stave off heart disease. Here are some tips to keep your heart safe. 


Avoid smoking or consuming tobacco

The heart and blood arteries can be harmed by the chemicals in cigarettes. Because the heart needs to work harder to pump adequate oxygen to the body and brain, smoking causes the blood's oxygen content to decrease, which raises blood pressure and heart rate.


Eat a balanced and healthy diet

A nutritious diet can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and protect the heart. An eating regimen for heart health includes fruits and vegetables, legumes, beans, lean meat, whole grains, fish, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, olive oil, etc. You can incorporate these foods by following healthy recipes and making your own food instead of opting for takeaway. Don't overindulge in the following:

  • Processed carbs, salt, and sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Trans fat and saturated fat are both present in red meat and full-fat dairy products (found in fried fast food, chips, and baked goods)


Keep a healthy weight

The risk of heart disease rises with weight gain, particularly in the midsection of the body. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes are just a few problems that can be brought on by being overweight and raising the risk of getting heart disease. Overweight is defined as having a BMI of 25 or greater and is typically linked to higher blood pressure, cholesterol, and a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. Even a small weight loss of 3 to 5 percent will help lower blood lipids, glucose levels, and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Even additional weight loss aids in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. 


Get enough sleep

Lack of sleep increases the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attacks, diabetes, and depression in individuals. Adults typically require at least seven hours of sleep per night. Make getting enough sleep a top priority. By going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, you can create and adhere to a sleep routine. Make sure your bedroom is quiet and dark, so it's simpler to fall asleep. 


Exercise and Manage Stress

Regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Your weight can be controlled by exercise. Additionally, it lowers the likelihood of acquiring additional illnesses, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes that could strain the heart. Some people use harmful coping mechanisms to deal with stress, such as binge eating, drinking excessively, or smoking. Your health can be enhanced by finding more effective stress-reduction techniques, such as exercise, relaxation techniques, or meditation.



Thus, we can conclude that there is a difference between a heart attack and a cardiac arrest. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to part of the heart stops and thus causes a section of the heart muscle to begin to die; whereas a cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating as a whole. There are various symptoms of a heart attack. In contrast, the main symptoms of a cardiac arrest are unconsciousness, lack of breathing, and no pulse. Finally, there are many different causes of cardiac arrest; whereas the main cause of a heart attack is coronary heart disease. Follow for more articles on health and lifestyle. 

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