Stress is an inevitable part of life, especially in today’s society that is in a constant quest for maximum productivity and instant results. Our fast-paced way of life leaves much to be desired when it comes to health. The human body can respond to stress in various ways, but none of them have a positive effect.
Heart attack is so prevalent in today’s society due to our fast-paced, stressful, and often unhealthy lifestyles, that most of us know what a heart attack is and can list its symptoms. However, many people are not aware of a similar condition called sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
You need to understand what it is and how it differs from a regular heart attack because SCA is the third leading cause of death in the United States. There are around 356,000 reported cases annually, and as many as nine out of 10 patients with SCA die. If bystanders responded in every SCA emergency, five out of those ten people could survive.
With all of that in mind, let’s explore what you need to know about SCA:
What Is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
SCA is an emergency situation where a person’s heart unexpectedly stops functioning due to an electrical disturbance, which causes the heart to stop pumping blood, and the patient stops breathing and loses consciousness. . The condition can affect anyone, no matter their age.
If the condition is not treated as soon as possible, the patient can die in a matter of minutes. How do you help someone in sudden cardiac arrest? By doing CPR, simple chest compressions, or by using a defibrillator. Either of these methods can significantly increase the chances of a person’s survival until cardiology experts can do their job.
How Sudden Cardiac Arrest Differs from a Regular Heart Attack
The two conditions are linked:
- A heart attack can lead to SCA during recovery.
- A heart attack increases the risk of SCA.
However, despite being connected, the two conditions differ significantly. A heart attack occurs due to a blockage in the coronary arteries. In SCA, the heart itself stops beating. For that reason, SCA is much more dangerous than a heart attack where the heart is still functioning and keeping the person alive.
Symptoms of Sudden Cardiac Arrest vs. Symptoms of Heart Attack
Let’s first take a look at the symptoms of a heart attack:
- Chest pain and tightness in the center chest area that lasts for several minutes and doesn’t subside after resting
- Pain moves to the arms, neck, back, abdomen, and the jaw
- Wheezing and coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness and light-headedness
- Overall weakness and feeling sick
- Noticeable heartbeats
On the other hand, the symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest are:
- Lack of breathing
- Lack of pulse
- Sudden loss of consciousness and responsiveness