Heart attack or Cardiac arrest: Know the difference and symptoms

Both heart attack and cardiac arrest may have few same symptoms, but there is a huge difference between the both. Know the difference.

Varsha Vats
Heart HealthWritten by: Varsha VatsPublished at: Nov 29, 2018
Heart attack or Cardiac arrest: Know the difference and symptoms

Cardiac arrest

Cardiac arrest is a condition during which the heart does not function. The person experiences a sudden loss of heartbeat. It causes a disturbance in pumping which results in lack of blood flow to rest of the body. It happens due to disturbance in electrical signals of the heart. Cardiac arrest should be treated immediately otherwise it can lead to death. It is a very serious heart condition because it can lead to sudden death. You should visit a doctor immediately if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned below:

  • Dizziness
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Heart rhythm problem
  • Sudden collapse
  • Chest pain
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue and weakness

Immediate symptoms include

  • Loss of consciousness
  • No pulse
  • Shortness of breath

Heart attack

A heart attack occurs when there is a loss of blood supply to the heart. Along with blood the heart does not get oxygen as well and the heart muscles begin to die. Heart attack is also called myocardial infarction. There are certain warning signs which can indicate a heart attack. Symptoms of heart attack include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting
  • Cold sweat
  • Upper body discomfort
  • Sudden dizziness

Difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest

There is a lot of confusion between heart attack and cardiac arrest. Both heart attack and cardiac arrest may have the same symptoms, but there is a huge difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest. During a heart attack, there is a blockage in an artery, which prevents the blood and oxygen from reaching the heart. Whereas, during a cardiac arrest the heart stops working due to a sudden disturbance. The heartbeat becomes too fast or irregular. It is mainly due to the problem in the electrical system of the heart.

Treatment for cardiac arrest

Cardiac arrest is very sudden. The patient can be saved from a cardiac arrest if he/she receives a medical assistance within a few minutes. In the meantime, an automated defibrillator can be used or the patient can be given CPR- cardiopulmonary. CPR helps pump the blood into the patient's body when as the heart does not work during cardiac arrest. To begin giving CPR, a person should press the patient’s chest up and down and give continuous breaths to save the patient’s life.

Also read: Are you aware of these facts about heart attacks?

Ways to prevent cardiac diseases

Heart diseases can be prevented with some simple lifestyle changes. Some of the lifestyle changes can be:

  • Shedding those extra kilos and staying away from fast food
  • Eating a healthy and nutritious diet—fruits and vegetables and other high-fiber food
  • Avoid consumption of alcohol and cigarettes as much as possible
  • Adequate sleep
  • Regular exercise or some physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day
  • Stress is another major reason for a cardiac arrest, so avoid taking stress. You can also try meditation to keep stress at bay

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