8. What are the Risk Factors for Heart Troubles?
The factors for heart attack, heart failure and cardiac arrest can differ. For example, a heart attack is more common among men aged 45 to 55, so age and gender are both risk factors. Smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure also weigh in.
Meanwhile, alcohol abuse can contribute to heart failure, as can coronary artery disease and viral infections that lead to stiffening of the heart muscle. Cardiac arrest can be brought on by some of the same factors (smoking, high blood pressure) but can also be caused by lack of exercise, high cholesterol, or a previous heart attack, notes the Mayo Clinic.
9. The Onset of Heart Episodes
Time is of the essence for heart attacks – WebMD explains heart attacks happen suddenly and cuts off blood flow to essential areas, which can be fatal. Heart failure happens more gradually as the heart muscles weaken and lose efficiency (sometimes as the result of a previous heart attack).
Meanwhile, cardiac arrest is very sudden – it can come out of nowhere without the telltale warning pain and tightness associated with a heart attack. It is often referred to as “sudden cardiac arrest,” and for good reason.
10. Treatments Differ for Each Type
As the onset for each type is different, so is the approach in trying to fix it. For heart attacks, taking aspirin when symptoms become prominent could help buy you time before you get to the hospital. The key is to restore blood flow to the heart as quickly as possible, which could involve thrombolysis (injecting clot-dissolving agents into the blood) or emergency surgery.
Meanwhile, if a patient collapses from cardiac arrest, a defibrillator is the most effective first line of treatment, notes eMedicineHealth.com. The idea is that an electric shock from the defibrillator “resets” the heart’s proper rhythm. For heart failure, treatments focus on the underlying cause whether it’s high blood pressure or diabetes. Changes to lifestyle and diet are usually in order to see improvements.