It is quite common for people to think that cardiac arrest and heart attack are the same. This is a mistake that has to be corrected. These two may have similarities, but it is important to understand the differences between them, so you will know how to act if you or a loved one is in danger.
Your heart is one of the muscles in the body. Just like other muscles you have, it needs blood that is rich in oxygen. This is exactly the job of the coronary arteries, which provide oxygen-rich blood to your heart as it pumps blood throughout the body. When you experience a heart attack, this means that your arteries got blocked, which often happens due to a blood clot. If the blockage is not treated immediately, some parts of the heart muscles will begin to die.
It is important to remember that cardiac arrest and heart attack are not synonymous terms. During a cardiac arrest, your heart stops beating as opposed to just the blood supply getting disrupted, which is what happens during a heart attack.
The physiological mechanisms between the two are quite different indeed. But aside from that, cardiac arrest and heart attack symptoms are also dissimilar.
Heart Attack Symptoms
- Chest pain or tightness of chest that lasts for several minutes and will not stop or decrease even when you rest.
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain that spreads to other parts of the body, commonly to the jaw, neck, arms, abdomen, and back
- Dizziness or light-headedness
What to do: Some people don’t know they are having a heart attack. However, if you or a loved one experiences two or more of the mentioned symptoms above, call an ambulance right away. You can also call emergency medical services to help with the first aid treatment. The staff can help revive a person whose heart stopped beating. For people who are having chest pain, they can be provided with fast treatment when they reach the hospital.
Symptoms of Cardiac Arrest
- No breathing
- No pulse
- Sudden loss of consciousness
Cardiac arrest can lead to death. Since there is no pulse in the body as the heart stops beating, this means that the other body organs do not receive their required blood supply.
What to do: Even though a person’s heart stopped beating, this can still be reversed, especially if reported and given treatment within a few minutes. An automated external defibrillator can help, so use it immediately. The patient can also receive CPR until professional medical services arrive.