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What is the difference between Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest?

Tulika Tandon

The recent death of actor Siddharth Shukla has triggered a debate among the health specialists on various causes and reasons of rise in heart diseases in people now-a-days. 

Is it the pandemic or the failed lifestyle people lead now-a-days? Is cholesterol the main reason for heart failure in people or an improper diet? People dying everyday of heart failure and cardiac arrest is not just an easily digestible thought. Yes you read it right, both cardiac arrest and heart attack are different diseases that can cause a human to lose his/her life. Know the difference between the two below. 

Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest: Difference 

People at times use these two terms interchangeably but they cannot be mixed. Cardiac Arrest and Heart Attack are not synonymous.

Heart Attack happens when the blood flow to the heart is blocked while cardiac arrest can happen when the heart malfunctions due to any cause and stops beating unexpectedly.

The major difference between the Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest lies in the fact that the former is a circulation issue in the heart while the latter is an electronic issue in the heart. 

Get to know about the details of the diseases below to understand the difference a little better. 

Heart Attack: Details

It is also referred to as Myocardial Infarction. Any person faces a heart attack when the arteries in the heart are blocked preventing the blood rich in oxygen reaching the section of the heart. In this case if the blood does not reach on time to that part of the heart, it begins to die an untimely death. The longer the treatment is delayed the greater the damage to the person suffering. 

The blockage of the blood vessel can be complete or partial. In case the complete blockage of the coronary artery occurs it means the person is suffering from STEMI heart attack that is ST-elevation myocardial infarction. However in case there is partial blockage, it means the patient is facing NSTEMI heart attack – a non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction.

Symptoms of Heart Attack:

The symptoms of heart attack may be quite simple and plain which is why people miss it sometimes confusing it with gastritis. 

They may be chest discomfort lasting for more than a few minutes, chest pain, upper body parts discomfort and feeling of being clogged. Shortness of breath with or without any discomfort in the chest and cold sweat and nausea along with light headedness can be one of the symptoms that you are having a heart attack. 

Cardiac Arrest: Details

Sudden cardiac arrests can happen without any warning. They can also occur after the heart attack has happened to any person or at the time of his/her recovery. 

It would be wrong to however say that heart attacks generally lead to cardiac arrest as that is not always the reason or the case. 

They generally happen when the heart's rhythm is disturbed or disrupted. The reasons can be thickened heart muscle called cardiomyopathy, heart failure, arrhythmias, ventricular fibrillation and long Q-T syndrome. 

Cardiac arrest can also be reversible if it is treated in a few minutes. Any person near such a patient must begin the CPR with immediate effect.  

Cardiac Arrest: Symptoms

The main symptom of cardiac arrest is the loss of consciousness and unresponsiveness. Patients must also check in case they feel chest discomfort in extremes, heart palpitations, unexplained wheezing, shortness of breath or irregular heartbeats. One must rush immediately to a doctor for further tests. 

Also Read| List of Heart Diseases, causes and symptoms

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