How To Tell If You Are Having a Stroke, Cardiac Arrest or a Heart Attack.

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Cardiovascular disease is the number one leading cause of death across the globe. It claims more people’s lives than every single form of cancer combined. The numbers are scary and speak volumes about just how prevalent and real the threat of experiencing a heart attack, stroke, or sudden cardiac arrest truly is.

According to data compiled by the American Heart Association in their 2016 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Update report, 17.3 million deaths word-wide are attributed to cardiovascular disease alone. They also found that on average approximately 2,200 Americans die every single day, which amounts to one person every 40 seconds or so, from either a stroke, heart disease, or cardiac disease.

Statistics like this make it crucial that we educate both ourselves and our families on the basic facts concerning heart related health issues. One of the most important things we should all be aware of is the difference between a heart attack, a stroke, and sudden cardiac arrest. Many people lump the three together or assume that sudden cardiac arrest and a heart attack are one and the same thing, which they are not. The accompanying video goes over and explains the variations between them all, it’s quick and comprehensive so be sure to check it out! In addition, these differences and how to recognize each one of them when they happen follow:

1. Heart Attack: A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked. This happens when a blood clot forms in an artery due to plaque and cholesterol clogging it up. With the blood flow oxygen deprived and blocked, it cannot circulate to the heart, leading to a hear attack.

Symptoms- Pressure or tightness in the chest area, chest pain, body aches, pain that radiates in the arms or upper back and jaw, cold sweats, nausea, shortness of breath, anxiety.

2. Stroke: A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked. This happens when a blood vessel becomes clogged or bursts, which can either completely obstruct or severely reduce the flow of blood to the brain. Without enough oxygenated blood and nutrients reaching them, brain cells start to die.

Symptoms- Blurred vision, severe headache, vomiting loss of coordination, trouble walking, dizziness, excessive sweating numbness, mental confusion, trouble with speaking, face/arm/leg numbness and in particular on one side of the body.

3. Cardiac Arrest: Cardiac arrest is when the heart suddenly stops beating. This happens when the electrical impulse activity in the heart, which is what keeps it beating and contracting, is disrupted unexpectedly. With no heartbeat, no blood reaches the brain or any other organs, causing the person to pass out. Without immediate treatment, the person will die within a matter of minutes.

Symptoms- The following symptoms will often occur in the minutes leading up to a cardiac arrest incident, as well as during and immediately following loss of consciousness: shortage of breath, gasping for air, shallow breaths and/or trouble breathing, weakness, chest pain, sudden collapse, weak pulse, absence of breath, fainting, blacking out, no response, no pulse.

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