The heart is a muscular organ that pumps blood over the body. With oxygen and vital nutrients, this function supplies your organs and tissues.
Heart disease prevents the heart from working properly and can cause serious health effects. The CDC estimates one in four deaths in the United States each year with heart disease.
These heart attacks and heart failure are two different conditions that affect the heart and can seriously affect your health if left untreated. However, they are not the same, and there are several key differences between the two conditions.
Next, we will break down the differences between heart attacks and heart failure and mention the types of treatment to protect your heart.
What Is A Heart Attack?
A heart attack arises when proper blood flow is blocked and does not reach an area of the heart. It means that the tissues in this area are not receiving the oxygen they need to survive. If not promptly treated with a heart attack, the heart tissue can be damaged and even die.
The medical terminology for heart attack is ‘Myocardial Infraction.’ The American Heart Association estimates that a person in the US has a heart attack every 40 seconds.
What Is Heart Failure?
Heart failure occurs when your heart cannot effectively pump enough blood sent to your body’s organs and tissues of needs. The CDC said that 6.2 million adults live with heart failure in the US.
There are a few types of heart failures, and they are different. Now let us explain the pros and cons of the concept hereunder:
Left-Sided Heart Failure:
Among the several types of heart failure, the most common is left-sided heart failure. We know that there are two types of left-sided heart failures.
Arising’ Left-sided heart failure is when the heart side pumps oxygen-rich blood to the body, affecting the tissues.
We come across two types of left-sided heart failures. They are (a) Systolic failure and (b) Diastolic failure.
- Medicos call Systolic failure ‘heart failure with reduced ejection fraction. This kind of heart failure occurs when the left ventricle cannot pump effectively to circulate blood from the heart.
- Cardiologists identified the Diastolic failure as heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. It occurs when the left ventricle becomes stiff and cannot relax between heartbeats, which means it cannot fill enough blood properly.
Biventricular And Right-Sided Heart Failure
Right-sided heart failure impacts the side of the heart that receives oxygen-poor blood from the body. In right heart failure, the heart cannot pump blood to the lungs to receive oxygen.
Biventricular heart failure arises when the heart system affects both sides of the heart, leading to the heart’s failure.
Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure, as we know, is a reference to a specific stage of heart failure. This type of body system failure occurs when blood returning to the heart backs up, causing congestion or swelling (edema) in various body parts.
Congestive heart failure can fail due to the heart’s left side, right, or both sides. Doctors identify it as a progressive condition. It means symptoms often become more severe during the time.
What Are The Main Differences Between A Heart Attack And Heart Failure?
Now that we have defined heart attack and heart failure. Let us discuss the key differences. We will focus on the causes, symptoms, and possible treatment options.
Causes Of Heart Attack
A very common cause of heart attack is Coronary artery disease. Let us know how it happens. A substance which doctors call ‘plaque’ forms upon the walls of the arteries through a process called ‘atherosclerosis’ under this condition.
As plaque builds up, the coronary arteries narrow. Plaque within a coronary artery can rupture, causing a blood clot to form. This blood clot can interrupt blood flow through the coronary arteries, leading to a heart attack.
A less often cause of a heart attack is a sudden narrowing (spasm) of the coronary arteries, restricting blood flow. It can occur due to severe physical or emotional stress, extreme cold, or the use of drugs such as cocaine.
Heart Attack Symptoms
The universal fact is that chest pain is also one of the main symptoms of a heart attack. Patients feel it like undergoing ‘pressure’ or a ‘feeling of fullness or compression.’ The pain can range from mild to painful in this case.
Pain from a heart attack can affect other areas as well, including:
- the arms
- the back
- neck or jaw
Other symptoms of a heart attack include:
- difficulty breathing
- cold sweats
- feeling disoriented or dizzy
- nausea or vomiting
- unusual level of fatigue
Causes Of Heart Failure
Different types of heart failure can have several causes, such as Systolic failure, Diastolic insufficiency, and Right-sided heart failure.
Chronic conditions that can weaken the heart or damage are the main reason for Systolic failure. Some examples of this type include a) coronary artery disease, b) damage from a previous heart attack, c) arrhythmias, and d) heart valve conditions.
Diastolic failure causes by conditions that force the heart to work harder to pump blood. When this happens, the heart tissue can harden. Causes of diastolic failure include:
- high blood pressure
Right-Sided Heart Failure
Let us know the cause of right-sided heart failure on account of left-sided heart failure. While the left side of the heart weakens, blood supports the right side of the heart, causing it to work harder. Other causes include:
- congenital heart conditions
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- pulmonary embolism
Symptoms Of Heart Failure
We know that shortness of breath is one of the main symptoms of heart failure. The reason is if the heart does not supply enough oxygen-rich blood to the body, the lungs work harder to take in extra oxygen.
Different types of heart failure can also have several symptoms. It is difficulty breathing, trouble concentrating, bluish-colored nails or lips, and inability to sleep while lying down. Some of the additional symptoms of left-sided heart failure are feeling weak or exhausted.
Besides shortness of breath, other symptoms of right-sided heart failure can include loss of appetite, abdominal pain, sickness. Also, they suffer from swelling in the lower extremities or abdomen, unexplained weight gain, and frequent urination.
People with biventricular heart failure may experience symptoms of heart failure on both the right and left sides.
Treatment Difference Between Heart Attack And Heart Failure
Focusing on restoring blood flow to the affected area of the heart and preventing further damage is necessary.
Treatment For A Heart Attack
Treatment for heart failure aims to control the conditions that contribute to the condition, reduce stress on the heart, and prevent it from getting worse.
Treatment of Heart attacks can be with:
It can use a variety of medications to help treat a heart attack. These may include:
- anticoagulant medicines, which used to dissolve blood clots
- nitroglycerin, which can help open arteries and improve blood flow
- anticoagulants, which help prevent blood clots
- pain relievers
- beta-blockers or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, which work to lower blood pressure
- statins, which help lower cholesterol levels
Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI)
PCI is a procedure that helps open the blocked coronary artery and restore blood flow. Placing of a stent may also
help to keep the artery open.
Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (CABG)
During CABG, Cardiac surgeons remove a healthy artery or vein from an area of the body and then place it to bypass, or bypass, the blocked area of a coronary artery.
Changes In Lifestyle
Your doctor will recommend several lifestyle changes to help promote your heart health and prevent another heart attack.
Heart Failure Treatments
The type of heart failure treatment may depend on the type of heart failure you have. Some possible treatment options include:
It can use various medications to help control heart failure. These may include medications that:
- help flush out excess fluid and sodium through the urine, such as diuretics and aldosterone inhibitors
- slow the heart rate, such as beta-blockers and ivabradine
- keep relaxing the walls of blood vessels, as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin II receptors
- strengthen the heartbeat, such as digoxin (Lanoxin)
Various Medical Devices
Several types of implanted medical devices can help treat heart failure. We many examples to know this. They include pacemakers, ventricular assist devices, implanted cardioverter defibrillators. Pacemakers can help normalize your heart rhythm, whereas ventricular assist devices can help the ventricles pump blood more effectively. Other implanted cardioverter defibrillators track your heart rhythm. And it uses small electrical signals to correct arrhythmias.
It may need a surgical procedure to treat clogged arteries, heart valves, or congenital conditions. In very serious cases, may recommend a heart transplant.
Your doctor will suggest changing your lifestyle to help improve your heart health and prevent heart failure from getting worse in case of a heart attack.
Both Heart attack and heart failure are two different conditions that share risk factors and underlying diseases.
A heart attack arises when blood flow is partially or completely interrupted in part of the heart. Heart failure arises when the heart cannot pump enough blood to different body parts.
Although heart attack and heart failure have various causes, symptoms, and treatments, the steps to prevent heart attack and heart failure are have similar. These mainly include following a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and controlling underlying conditions.