Difference Between Heart Attacks and Heart Failure
Windowofworld.com – Although both can cause death if not handled properly, heart attacks and heart failure are two different conditions. The difference between heart attacks and heart failure lies in the causes, symptoms, and treatment.
Heart attacks occur when heart muscle cells do not get enough oxygen because there is a blockage in the coronary arteries. This attack occurs suddenly and can deteriorate quickly. Meanwhile, heart failure occurs when the heart muscles weaken slowly, so that finally no longer able to pump blood throughout the body.
Differences in Heart Attacks and Heart Failure in Terms of Causes
Heart attacks begin with the formation of cholesterol plaque in coronary arteries, which are blood vessels that provide nutrients and oxygen to the heart muscle.
This plaque can enlarge and cause the walls of the coronary arteries to narrow or even become blocked. In addition, blockage can also occur if a portion of the plaque is broken and debris is released into the bloodstream into smaller blood vessels.
Blockages in coronary arteries cause the heart muscle to lack oxygen supply and nutrients from the blood. This condition is called coronary heart disease. When the blockage is total, causing damage to the heart muscle, a heart attack occurs.
While heart failure is caused by a combination of various diseases that weaken the heart muscle slowly in a long time, until finally the heart is no longer able to pump blood throughout the body. Heart failure can be caused by a heart attack, but can also be caused by:
- High blood pressure (hypertension) which causes the heart muscle must work harder to pump blood throughout the body, and over time the heart muscle will weaken
- Heart valve disorders that cause the heart muscle to work harder to pump blood
- Damage to heart muscle due to consumption of alcoholic beverages, viral infections, or the use of certain drugs
- Congenital heart disease
- Lung disease
Differences in Heart Attacks and Heart Failure in Terms of Symptoms
Heart attacks usually occur suddenly. Symptoms that appear can vary from person to person. In general, symptoms of a heart attack include:
- Chest feels pressure or pressure, tightness, or pain in the chest that can spread to other body parts, such as the neck, jaw, or arms
- A cold sweat
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea, vomiting, and heartburn
- Anxiety or panic when a heart attack occurs
Meanwhile, symptoms of heart failure usually develop and worsen slowly. Some common symptoms of heart failure are:
- Shortness of breath or shortness of breath, especially when lying down
- The heartbeat feels fast (palpitating) and irregular
- Easily tired
- Prolonged cough
- Swelling in the legs, feet, or abdomen due to fluid buildup (edema) due to heart pump failure
- Weight gain due to fluid buildup
Differences in Heart Attacks and Heart Failure in Terms of Treatment
Heart attacks require immediate treatment to prevent further damage to the heart muscle. As a first step, the doctor will usually give blood-thinning drugs to reduce blood clots around the broken plaque fragments.
The doctor will also usually give nitroglycerin drugs to dilate the blocked blood vessels. After that, further treatment to overcome the blockage can be done by installing a stent or bypass surgery.
In the case of heart failure, heart function that has been lost is usually irreversible. However, treatment needs to be done so that the heart’s condition does not worsen. Treatment given by a doctor depends on the cause of heart failure experienced by the patient. Some of the treatments that are commonly performed to treat heart failure are:
- Giving blood thinning drugs or nitroglycerin according to doctor’s instructions if heart failure is caused by coronary heart disease
- Giving blood pressure-lowering drugs if heart failure is caused by high blood pressure
- Pacemaker (pacemaker) installation if there is a disturbance of heart rhythm
- Giving diuretic drugs to remove fluids that accumulate in the body through urine
- Lifestyle changes. such as limiting salt consumption, stopping smoking, and maintaining ideal body weight
In conclusion, heart attack and heart failure are two different conditions. Heart attacks are caused by blockage of coronary arteries (coronary heart disease), whereas heart failure can be caused by coronary heart disease or other diseases, such as heart valve disorders, hypertension, or lung disease.
To prevent heart disease, you are advised to reduce consumption of fatty foods, stop smoking, limit consumption of alcoholic beverages, and do regular exercise.
If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or other symptoms as mentioned above, immediately consult a doctor so that treatment can be done quickly.