We tend to take our hearts for granted, as long as everything is functioning correctly within the chambers that pump the blood through the body. Because the heart works day and night to keep the human body alive and well, it’s a good idea to try and keep it in the best condition possible. It’s also a good idea to know what to do if you, or someone you can help, has a heart related emergency.
What is a Healthy Heart?
A healthy heart has a normal rhythm and rate and responds to exercise in an accelerated manner while maintaining a smooth rhythm. A healthy heart should have normal valve function and stable muscle contractions. It’s a good idea to see a doctor to determine, through various tests, how healthy your heart actually is. Good heart health maintenance is achieved by doing cardiovascular exercises, eating a heart healthy diet and avoid using tobacco products. Controlling blood pressure and regulating blood sugar is essential to good heart health. Your physician can also screen for any other risk factors relating to the heart.
What Causes a Heart to Stop?
Hardening of the arteries is one of the major reasons a heart could stop beating. Some less common causes of heart stoppage include being struck by lightning, sudden failure due to over exertion and the chest being hit by an object close to the heart. This is why everyone should know how to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation or CPR.
What if Treatment Is Delayed for a Heart Emergency?
Once a heart stops, due to cardiac arrest, it’s medically defined as clinical death if nothing is done to intervene. Within only four to six minutes without treatment, a person will succumb due to death of the brain. It’s essential for a person to receive CPR as quickly as possible once the heart has stopped pumping blood.
What’s the Difference Between Cardiac Arrest and a Heart Attack?
Though often used interchangeably by lay persons, a heart attack and cardiac arrest are two different things. A heart attack is usually a myocardial infarction that is a blocked artery that results in death of some heart muscle from lack of blood flow. A heart attack does not always lead to the actual heart stoppage that is defined as cardiac arrest. Treatment for the two conditions differ greatly.
What Are the Symptoms of Cardiac Arrest?
Symptoms are almost always felt by the patient. Those who are in the presence of someone who has cardiac arrest often don’t have any realization or recall of any of the symptoms leading up to the actual event. If a person suddenly collapses, it should be assumed it’s a cardiac arrest so treatment can get underway as quickly as possible.
Does Survival of an Initial Cardiac Arrest Increase the Chances of a Recurrence?
Most who do suffer a cardiac arrest are at a high risk for another cardiac arrest in the future. Many patients should have, and are issued, a permanent defibrillator once they have that first cardiac arrest.