The duty of the heart is to pump oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. The heart, on the other hand, requires oxygen to survive. The heart is unable to operate correctly when the blood supply to the heart muscle is drastically decreased or totally cut off. The part that isn’t getting enough oxygen starts to die. That’s a heart attack, and according to the American Heart Association, one occurs every 40 seconds in the United States.
Difference between Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest
Although cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack, the two can occur together. When the blood supply to the heart is blocked, a heart attack occurs. The heart stops beating suddenly in sudden cardiac arrest. Heart attack is a “circulation” problem, while sudden cardiac arrest is an “electrical” problem, according to the American Heart Association.
Sudden cardiac arrest occurs without warning and, as the term implies, without warning. A disturbance of the electrical currents that keep the heart beating causes it to stop. An arrhythmia is a condition in which the heart stops pumping blood to the brain, lungs, and other organs.
Within seconds, the person may lose consciousness and have minimal or no pulse. The cardiac arrest will cause death if care is not given within minutes.
Sudden cardiac arrest, which can occur after a heart attack or during recovery, is increased by a heart attack. Most heart attacks, on the other hand, do not result in sudden cardiac arrest. Cardiomyopathy, heart failure, and injury to the parts of the heart that control the electrical currents that keep the heart pumping rhythmically can all cause arrhythmia.
CPR and the use of a defibrillator to shock the heart back into a normal beating rhythm can be used to restart a heart in cardiac arrest.
When plaque, a build-up of fat, cholesterol, and other chemicals, narrows the coronary arteries that provide blood to the heart muscle, blood flow might be interrupted. Atherosclerosis, often known as artery hardening, is the result of this. The plaque can narrow the artery and reduce blood flow. The plaque can sometimes break, resulting in a blood clot. The clot might totally stop the blood supply to the heart muscle through the artery.
Ischemia is a condition in which the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen. An ischemic heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, occurs when this causes damage or death to a portion of the heart muscle.
A heart attack is caused by more than just a blocked artery. A coronary artery can constrict or spasm, narrowing it and slowing or stopping blood flow to a part of the heart. The causes of spasms, according to the AHA, remain unknown. They can arise in vessels that appear to be normal as well as those with atherosclerosis. A heart attack can occur if the spasm is strong enough.
Spontaneous coronary artery dissection is another probable cause of heart attack; however, it is extremely rare. When the artery wall rips or tears, blood flow to the heart is disrupted. The Mayo Clinic says there are a few risk factors, including genetic diseases that damage the body’s connective tissues, such as vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndromes and Marfan syndrome, excessively high blood pressure, illegal drug use, and others.
Unfortunately, there are no symptoms associated with atherosclerosis. According to the American Heart Association, when a coronary artery narrows and limits blood flow due to atherosclerosis, other blood vessels serving the same area of the heart can expand to compensate for the weaker artery. Collateral circulation refers to the network of enlarged blood vessels. It saves certain people from heart attacks by delivering vital blood to the heart. It could also explain why people with atherosclerosis have no warning signs. After a heart attack, collateral circulation can help the heart muscle recover by providing more blood to it.
Angina can be classified into several types:
Stable angina, also known as angina pectoris, occurs when blood pressure and heart rate rise due to exercise or mental stress, and the heart struggles to get enough blood flow.
Unstable angina, also known as acute coronary syndrome, can occur at any time, even when you’re relaxing or asleep. According to the American Heart Association, unstable angina can progress to a heart attack and should be handled as a medical emergency.
Many people imagine a heart attack as it is shown in movies and on television: chest pain followed by a collapse to the ground. While this is possible, it is not common. The majority of heart attacks begin with minor discomfort or pain. Symptoms of a heart attack can continue for hours, days, or weeks. A heart attack, unlike sudden cardiac arrest, normally results in the heart continuing to beat.
The American Heart Association offers the following signs and symptoms that could indicate a heart attack:
• Discomfort in the centre of the chest that lasts longer than a few minutes or comes and goes. It can feel like a tightening, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
• Other parts of the body, such as one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach, may experience pain or discomfort.
• Shortness of breath, possibly accompanied by chest discomfort.
• A cold sweat, nausea, or light-headedness are all possible symptoms.
Women are more likely to notice some of the other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, nausea and/or vomiting, and back or jaw pain. Women frequently misdiagnose these symptoms as acid reflux, the natural aches and pains of age, or the flu, believing they are caused by less hazardous disorders. However, because heart disease is the leading cause of death among women and men in the United States, these symptoms must be taken seriously.
Knowing your risk factors is the greatest approach to avoid a heart attack. Some factors, such as age (risk increases with age), gender (men are more at risk than women), ethnicity (African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, American Indians, Native Hawaiians, and some Asian-Americans are more at risk), and family history, are beyond your control. Others, on the other hand, are directly under your control.
The American Heart Association suggests the following steps reduce your risk of a heart attack:
• Don’t smoke, and if you do, stop immediately.
• Blood pressure and cholesterol levels should be kept under control.
• Maintain diabetes control.
• Maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI).
• Participate in some form of physical activity.
• Eat a diet that is good for your heart.