You probably know that heart attack is a life-threatening disorder, which requires immediate medical help.
Many of us confuse this trouble with cardiac arrest - condition, in which the heart stops to beat suddenly.
Heart attack is a circulatory problem, which affects coronary arteries (vessels, which supply heart muscle with blood), while cardiac arrest is a result of dysfunction of the heart's electrical system. Sometimes heart attack can change normal heart rhythm, triggering cardiac arrest.
Your heart has its own nerve net, which stimulates heart muscle (the myocardium) to pump the blood with normal rhythm.
When something goes wrong in this system, heart rhythm may be disturbed, causing too fast, too slow or irregular beats.
Sometimes arrhythmias can result in abrupt loss of heart function, called sudden cardiac arrest.
Symptoms of this dangerous condition occur drastically and include loss of consciousness, pulse absence, no breathing and collapse.
This medical emergency is reversible, if treated within several minutes because permanent brain dysfunction and death develop in the course of four to six minutes.
That's why it's really important to call 9-1-1 and begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation with proper rate (not less than 100 pressures per minute).
If portable defibrillator is available, you can check victim's heart rhythm and deliver a shock, if needed.
In vast majority of cases, cardiac arrest don't happen in healthy heart without any reasons. The most possible underlying reasons include coronary artery disease, heart attack, valvular heart disease, exposure to electrical shock, chest trauma and use of illicit drugs.
Seek for medical help promptly, if noticed these early cardiac arrest symptoms in yourself or in beloved one:
#1. Shortness of breath – inexplicable wheezing and feeling lack of air may indicate some serious health issues, including cardiac arrest.
#2. Chest pain – pressure, tightness and burning in the chest, jaw and left arm are classic symptoms of heart attack, which can also become apparent, if your heart stops to beat normally.
#3. Dizziness – don't delay to see your doctor, if feel lightheaded. Cardiac arrest-related dizziness comes suddenly and progresses within short period of time, as usual.
#4. Heart palpitations – those, who go through cardiac arrest, often experience heart palpitations and irregular heart beats.
#5. Vomiting – feeling sick is not always about heart problems. But be aware that unexplained nausea and vomiting may be the early signs of cardiac arrest.
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