What's the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest?
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Following in her father’s footsteps, the singer-songwriter reportedly suffered from heart complications. It was on Thursday morning when Lisa fell ill at her home in Calabasas, Southern California. Her 77-year-old mother, Priscilla, said in a statement: “It is with a heavy heart that I must share the devastating news that my beautiful daughter Lisa Marie has left us.
“She was the most passionate, strong and loving woman I have ever known. We ask for privacy as we try to deal with this profound loss.”
According to TMZ, Lisa suffered from a cardiac arrest, which is when the heart suddenly stops working.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) highlights the key signs of a cardiac arrest, in which a person will collapse suddenly and be unconscious, unresponsive, and not breathing normally.
“Without immediate treatment, the person will die,” the BHF warns. “If you see someone having a cardiac arrest, phone 999 immediately and start CPR.”
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What leads to a cardiac arrest?
The BHF says “a cardiac arrest is caused by a dangerous abnormal heart rhythm, which happens when the electrical system in the heart isn’t working properly”.
Certain conditions can lead to abnormal heart rhythms, such as:
- Cardiomyopathies (disease of the heart muscle)
- Congenital heart disease
- Heart valve disease
- Severe or untreated myocarditis.
Other causes of a cardiac arrest include:
- A heart attack (often caused by coronary heart disease)
- A severe haemorrhage (losing a large amount of blood)
- Hypoxia – a severe drop in oxygen levels
- A drug overdose.
The main difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest
Elvis died from a heart attack, which the BHF describes as a “circulation problem”.
A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to the heart muscle is restricted, which is often caused by a blood clot in one of the arteries.
Meanwhile, a cardiac arrest is considered an “electrical” issue whereby the heart stops working.
Aside from death, there can be extreme health complications following a cardiac arrest.
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After effects can include permanent brain injury, problems with speech and language, or personality changes.
Can you reduce your risk of a cardiac arrest?
To help minimise the risk of a cardiac arrest, adhering to a healthy lifestyle is recommended.
A healthy lifestyle involves eating a healthy diet, being a non-smoker, drinking alcohol only moderately (or not at all), being physically active and taking any prescribed medication.
The BHF adds: “You’re able to get an NHS Health Check for your risk of heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and other issues if you live in England.”
The NHS Health check involves a health practitioner taking note of your height and weight.
Your blood pressure would also be taken, and a blood test for cholesterol, blood sugar, and liver function will be taken.
“You’ll be given a cardiovascular disease risk score, which is an estimate of how likely you are to get heart disease or have a stroke in the next 10 years,” the NHS says.
“You’ll also find out your possible risk of developing kidney disease and diabetes.”
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