Tag Archives: Heart Attack

Key Differences Between a Heart Attack, Sudden Cardiac Arrest, and a Stroke

Is it a Heart Attack, Sudden Cardiac Arrest, or a Stroke?

They’re all serious conditions that require immediate medical attention but many people don’t fully understand the differences between these three common killers. Simply put, a heart attack is a circulatory problem, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is an electrical malfunction in the heart, and a stroke is caused by a blood clot or ruptured blood vessel in the brain.  

In this article, we’ll help you understand what’s happening within the body during each of these medical emergencies. 

Although the risk factors may be the same from person to person, understanding the differences between these conditions can be a matter of life and death.

What’s a Heart Attack?

Heart attacks are, essentially, a circulation problem and they occur when blood flow to a person’s heart is severely reduced or blocked. Heart attacks can be relatively mild or very, very serious.

During a heart attack, an artery becomes clogged and cannot carry enough oxygen to the heart. The heart may continue to beat normally but if the blockage is not quickly resolved, parts of the cardiac muscle will begin to die from lack of oxygen. The longer a heart attack goes on without treatment, the greater the damage to the muscle.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

You may be able to prevent a heart attack from occurring if you know what to look for andyou listen to your body! Symptoms can occur hours, days, and even weeks before the heart attack itself. The most common symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Pain or discomfort in the chest
  • Lightheadedness, nausea, or vomiting
  • Jaw, neck, or back pain
  • Discomfort or pain in arm or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath

It’s well worth noting that women may experience symptoms of a heart attack differently from men. Even though heart disease is the number-one killer of women in the United States, women often fail to identify their symptoms as warning signs of a heart attack (American Heart Association). 

In addition to (or instead of) the symptoms listed above, women may experience pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, lightheadedness, fainting, flu-like symptoms or extreme fatigue.

What’s Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Cardiac arrest is an electrical problem and is caused when an individual’s heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating, which prevents blood and oxygen from flowing to vital organs. Unlike a heart attack, SCA is always serious. Without the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) to shock the heart back into a healthy rhythm, death can occur within minutes.

Symptoms of Cardiac Arrest

A heart attack often telegraphs its arrival with clearly defined symptoms, SCA, however, can occur with little or no warning, as it did for SCA survivor Rob Seymour. Symptoms are immediate and dire: sudden loss of consciousness/responsiveness, lack of breathing, and no pulse. During a cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating and the organs of the body are deprived of oxygen. 

When the heart stops beating, death can occur within minutes. 

SCA can be caused by any number of events, such as ventricular fibrillation, a sudden blow to the chest, electrocution, drowning, drug abuse, heart attacks, cardiomyopathy, or hypothermia. Cardiac arrest can be reversible if it’s treated in the first few minutes with CPR and by using an AED on the victim.

What’s a Stroke?

A stroke is a “brain attack” that can happen to anyone at any time and occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked by a clogged or burst blood vessel. When blood flow to the brain is cut off, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control are permanently lost (National Stroke Association).

Symptoms of Stroke

Using the acronym FAST, you just may be able to save someone’s life. If someone’s facebegins to droop or they’re complaining of numbness, ask them to smile. If the person’s smile is lopsided, they may be having a stroke. If their arm is weak or numb, ask them to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Is their speech slurred or strange? If someone is showing any of these symptoms, it’s time to call 9-1-1 immediately.

What You Can Do to Assist Someone Who is Experiencing a Heart Attack, SCA, or Having a Stroke?

If you witness someone suffering from a possible heart attack, SCA, or a stroke call 911 immediately. The operator may be able to help you administer compression-only CPR to the victim. If possible, ask a bystander to locate an AED. 

You never know when your actions could help save a life.

To become better equipped to offer assistance, sign up for first aid, CPR, and AED training today! Cardio Partners offers CPR, First Aid, AED, and bloodborne pathogen training courses in all 50 states in traditional classroom settings and in blended learning courses. To learn more about our courses or to schedule a training, call our team at 866-349-4362 or email Cardio Partners at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

What’s the Difference Between a Heart Attack and Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Is it a Heart Attack or Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

If you haven’t put much thought into the difference between a heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), don’t feel too bad! Many people believe that a heart attack and SCA are the same thing and commonly use the terms interchangeably.

In a nutshell, a heart attack is a circulation problem and cardiac arrest is an electrical problem. Although individuals who have suffered a heart attack are more likely to experience SCA, the two cardiac events are very different! To improve survival odds, it’s important to gain a deeper understanding of the key differences between a heart attack and SCA.

What is a Heart Attack?

During a heart attack, an artery becomes clogged and cannot carry adequate oxygen to the heart. In many cases, the heart continues to beat normally but if the blockage is not quickly resolved, parts of the cardiac muscle will begin to die. Like all muscles, your heart requires oxygen-rich blood for survival. The longer a heart attack goes on without treatment, the greater the damage to the muscle.

Comedian, actor, filmmaker, and former convenience store clerk Kevin Smith (@ThatKevenSmith) made headlines last month by tweeting, “After the first show this evening, I had a massive heart attack. The Doctor who saved my life told me I had 100% blockage of my LAD artery (aka “the Widow-Maker”). If I hadn’t canceled show 2 to go to the hospital, I would’ve died tonight. But for now, I’m still above ground!”

Health.com notes that, “Recovery from a heart attack typically involves medications, changes in diet and exercise habits, and sometimes surgery. Happily, less than a month after his cardiac scare, Smith was back on Twitter announcing that he’d lost 20 pounds and that his blood pressure was “amazing.”

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

According to the Library of Congress, the heart is the hardest working muscle in the body. It pumps out two ounces of blood at every heartbeat. Each day, your heart pumps at least 2,500 gallons of blood! And if you live into your 80s, your heart will have beaten more than three billion times. That’s one hard-charging muscle, so return the favor by paying attention to the signals your heart may be sending you.

If you know what to look for, you may even be able to prevent a heart attack from occurring. Symptoms can occur hours, days, and even weeks before a heart attack. The most common symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Pain or discomfort in the chest
  • Lightheadedness, nausea, or vomiting
  • Jaw, neck, or back pain
  • Discomfort or pain in arm or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath

Women may experience these symptoms differently than men. Even though heart disease is the number-one killer of women in the United States, women often fail to identify their symptoms as warning signs of a heart attack.

“‘Although men and women can experience chest pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure,’ said Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU’s Langone Medical Center and an American Heart Association volunteer. ‘Instead they may experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure or extreme fatigue’” (American Heart Association).

The key takeaway: listen to your body and don’t hesitate to seek medical help should you experience any of these symptoms.

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Unlike a heart attack, SCA can occur with little or no warning, as it did for SCA survivor Rob Seymour. SCA occurs when the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. Symptoms are immediate and dire: sudden loss of consciousness/responsiveness, lack of breathing, and no pulse. During a cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating and the organs of the body are deprived of oxygen.

When the heart stops beating, death can occur within minutes.

SCA can be caused by any number of events such as ventricular fibrillation, a sudden blow to the chest, electrocution, drowning, drug abuse, cardiomyopathy, and hypothermia. Cardiac arrest can be reversible if it’s treated in the first few minutes with CPR and by using an AED on the victim.

What You Can Do

If you witness someone suffering from a possible heart attack or SCA, call 911 immediately. The operator may be able to help you administer compression-only CPR to the victim. If possible, ask a bystander to locate an AED. To become even better equipped to respond in the event of a cardiac emergency, sign up for a first aid and CPR course. You never know when your actions could help save a life.

Get certified today. Cardio Partners and aed.com offer CPR, First Aid, AED, and bloodborne pathogen training courses in all 50 states in traditional classroom settings and in blended learning courses. To learn more about our courses or to schedule a training, call our team at 866-349-4362 or email Cardio Partners at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

Spring into Action: Easy Tips to Avoid Heart Disease

Spring is FINALLY here! Spring means blossoms blooming, bees buzzing, rain raining, thunder thundering, lightning flashing, cool winds blowing, sunrise jogging, playground swinging, barbecuing, families gathering, sunset kissing, lemonade standing, and kids laughing. Spring means starting over, starting fresh and starting anew.

To millions of Americans, spring (and all of its spring-y-ness) is a reminder that they can’t do all of those things anymore because they suffer from heart disease. According to The American Heart Association (AHA), heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. Over 800,000 Americans died of heart disease each year. That’s 1 out of every 3 deaths. Think about that the next time you sit down for family dinner. Look to your left and then to your right. One of you will die from heart disease. Those are sobering statistics.

What can we do to avoid becoming a statistic? The AHA lists smoking, physical inactivity, and poor nutrition, among others, as the leading causes of heart disease. A good start is to follow some simple dos and don’ts. Here are a few tips that could save your life:

Have a healthy eating plan: Choose foods low in salt and saturated fat. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and nuts. Try to avoid sugary drinks and red meat. If you’ve got to have that steak, get the filet. It has the lowest amount of fat on the menu. Don’t make your diet goals too big. Set small goals of eating a little better each day and each week. You’ll notice a difference in how you look and feel.

Be physically active: Little bits of exercise each day can go a long way towards avoiding heart disease. The goal is to exercise 60 minutes each day. That’s a lofty target, and most of us just don’t have that kind of time. You can do small things like take the stairs instead of the elevator, or park on the far end of the parking lot instead of right next to the grocery store. You will find yourself feeling stronger in no time.

Tame your stress: Easier said than done, right? The AHA says long term stress can cause increases in heart rate and blood pressure that may damage artery walls. Learning stress management techniques like deep breathing exercises will not only benefit your body, but also your quality of life.

Spring Into Action! And make small choices today that will pay off the rest of your life. Your friends and family will love you for it!

Written by John Bryson, Director of Marketing, DXE Medical Inc.

Is it a Heart Attack or Cardiac Arrest?

Plumbing vs Electrical

Public awareness of CPR and Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) is growing, but are you able to discern the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest? Do you know when to perform CPR or use an AED? At AED.com, part of our mission is to educate the public on recognizing Sudden Cardiac Arrest, the awareness of AEDs, performing bystander CPR before the paramedics arrive and using the defibrillator to shock the victim when needed. Continue reading Is it a Heart Attack or Cardiac Arrest?

Heart Attack vs Cardiac Arrest – Do you know how to help?

Jeff Rossen using an AED Trainer on the Today Show.
Jeff Rossen using an AED Trainer on the Today Show.

Thank you to Jeff Rossen on the Today show for featuring Automated External Defibrillators and CPR and bringing public awareness to the importance of these life-saving devices (video featured here). At AED.com, part of our mission is to educate the public on recognizing Sudden Cardiac Arrest, the awareness of AEDs, performing bystander CPR before the paramedics arrive and using the defibrillator to shock the victim when needed. Continue reading Heart Attack vs Cardiac Arrest – Do you know how to help?

Sudden Cardiac Arrest vs. Heart Attack – Are They The Same Thing?

Cardiac Arrest vs Heart Attack

Although these two terms are often used interchangeably, they are NOT the same. Sudden cardiac arrest is much worse than a heart attack. It is a condition in which the victim’s heartbeat stops abruptly and unexpectedly due to an abnormal heart rate or arrhythmia. A sudden cardiac arrest victim will have little or no fore-warning, will lose consciousness and collapse. Continue reading Sudden Cardiac Arrest vs. Heart Attack – Are They The Same Thing?