According to Heart, very often, people tend to use these three terms interchangeably; however, they are not one and the same. Namely, a heart attack happens when the blood flow to the heart is blocked whereas a cardiac arrest occurs during a heart’s malfunction and a sudden stopping of its beating. And, a stroke is when the brain is attacked, i.e. when the blood flow to a specific brain area is disrupted, resulting in lack of oxygen for the brain cells and their consequent death. Let us learn more about these three health problems and how to differentiate them one from the other and save your life or the life of another person who may be experiencing them.
What Is a Cardiac Arrest?
Cardiac arrest is when heart function is abruptly lost in an individual who may or may not have been diagnosed with a heart illness. It may happen all of a sudden or during other symptoms. In most cases, a cardiac arrest is fatal if the adequate measures are not taken right away.
A heart attack may cause a cardiac arrest, but these two terms signify two distinct problems. Heart attacks, as noted on Heart, have to do with the death of a heart muscle tissue due to a circulation problem whereas a cardiac arrest is associated with malfunctioning in the heart’s electrical system and as a result, the heart stops beating adequately leading to an arrest or stopping of the heart’s pumping function.
A cardiac arrest may be reversed with the help of CPR and a defibrillator which is used to shock the heart and restore the heart rhythm within minutes.
What Is a Heart Attack?
A heart attack is the death of a heart muscle due to insufficient blood supply. Usually, as explained on Medical News Today, the blood flow is interrupted when an artery which supplies the heart muscle is being blocked by a blood clot. When a heart attack is taking place, the sufferer usually experiences strong chest ache and discomfort. Age (over 40), obesity, and smoking are known contributing factors. Common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, dizziness, coughing, a gray-like facial color, and restlessness.
The faster a person with a heart attack is treated medically; the better and nowadays, most of heart attacks are effectively treated, of course, if the person is quickly rushed to the hospital. Sometimes, a person may stop breathing during a heart attack and may require CPR and defibrillator shocks.
What Is a Stroke?
As seen on Mayo Clinic, a stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is somehow interrupted or decreased and thus, it deprives the brain tissues of nutrients and oxygen and within minutes, the brain cells start to die. This medical emergency requires a fast treatment with the goal to lower brain damage and other possible complications.
The major symptoms of stroke are numb face, arm, or a leg, inability to speak properly and limited understanding of speech, poor vision in one or both eyes, strong headaches, dizziness, and loss of balance and coordination.