Heart Attack and Heart Failure
Heart attack and heart failure are two conditions that impact the proper functioning of the heart and can be life-threatening if left untreated.
Some people think that heart attack and heart failure are the same, but they’re not. There are several key differences between them.
We are going to look at the two heart conditions Heart Attack and Heart Failure, their symptoms, causes, and treatments.
What is a heart attack?
A heart attack occurs when an area of the heart is not receiving adequate blood flow. The tissues in the area aren’t getting enough oxygenated blood that they need to survive and work properly.
The blockage that prevents blood from getting to the part of the heart is mostly due to the buildup of plaque in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. The blockage in the arteries limits the flow of blood to the area and can lead to damage or even death of tissue that enough blood is not getting to.
What is heart failure?
Heart failure occurs when your heart is unable to pump sufficient blood to the rest parts of your body. This causes your body’s organs and tissues to lack enough blood to function properly.
Heart failure can affect the right or left side of your heart. It can also affect both sides of your heart at the same time.
1. Right-sided heart failure
Right-sided heart failure affects the right side of your heart that receives blood from your body. In this case, your heart cannot pump enough blood to your lungs.
2. Left-sided heart failure
Left-sided heart failure affects the left side of your heart that pumps blood out of your heart to the rest parts of your body.
The left-sided heart failure is of two types:
- Systolic failure
Systolic failure is heart failure with decreased ejection fraction. It occurs when the left ventricle is unable to efficiently pump blood out of the heart into the other parts of the body
- Diastolic failure
Diastolic failure is heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. It occurs when the left ventricle has become stiff and is unable to relax between heartbeats. This makes it impossible for the left ventricle to be properly filled with enough blood.
Symptoms of Heart Attack
Chest pain is a common symptom of a heart attack. The pain can range from mild to severe and may feel like pressure or squeezing.
Heart attack can also cause pain in other parts of the body, including the:
Additional symptoms of a heart attack may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweat
- Sudden Dizziness
- Increased fatigue
Symptoms of Heart Failure
A common symptom of heart failure is shortness of breath.
Additional symptoms of right-sided heart failure include:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Swelling in the lower extremities
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Unexplained weight gain
- Frequent urination
Additional symptoms of left-sided heart failure include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Feelings of weakness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Fingernails or lips that become blue in color
- Difficulty sleeping
Causes of Heart Attack
A complete or partial blockage of the major arteries that supply blood to the heart’s coronary arteries is the main cause of heart attack.
A sudden tightening (spasm) of the coronary arteries that may restrict blood flow may also cause a heart attack in rare cases. This can occur as a result of severe physical or emotional stress. It may also occur due to extreme cold, or from using certain drugs like cocaine.
Causes of Heart Failure
Different types of heart failure have different causes.
Right-sided heart failure often occurs as a result of left-sided heart failure. As the left side of your heart weakens, blood goes back up in the right side of your heart, causing the right side of your heart to work harder in an effort to pump blood.
Heart Attack and Heart Failure Symptoms
- Congenital heart conditions
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)
- Pulmonary embolism
Chronic conditions that can cause the heart to become weak or damaged are often the cause of systolic heart failure.
Conditions that may cause systolic heart failure include:
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart valve conditions
- Complications from a previous heart attack
Conditions that force your heart to work harder in an effort to pump blood are often the cause of diastolic heart failure.
Conditions that may cause diastolic heart failure include:
- High blood pressure
Treatment of Heart Attack and Heart Failure
Heart attack treatment focuses on restoring blood flow to the affected area of the heart.
Treatment options include:
Medications that can be used to treat heart attack include:
These medications are used to dissolve blood clots.
This medication helps to open up arteries and improve blood flow.
Blood thinners or anti-clotting medications
These medications help to prevent blood clots.
These medications are used to relieve pain associated with a heart attack.
Beta-blockers or ACE inhibitors
These medications help to lower blood pressure.
These medications help to lower cholesterol levels.
Surgical procedures to improve and restore blood flow to the heart include:
Percutaneous coronary intervention
This procedure helps to open up a blocked coronary artery to restore blood flow to the heart. It involves threading a thin flexible tube with a stent into the blocked artery. The stent is placed in the artery to keep it open to restore blood flow.
Coronary artery bypass surgery
This procedure involves cutting a healthy artery from a part of your body and then positioning the healthy artery to bypass the blocked area of a coronary artery to restore blood flow.
Heart Failure Treatment in Waco, TX
Heart failure treatments usually depend on the type of heart failure you have.
Treatment options include:
A variety of medications can be used to help manage heart failure. Medications can help relieve your symptoms and prevent heart failure from getting worse.
These medications include:
- Medications that help to remove extra fluid and sodium from the body through urination, such as diuretics and aldosterone inhibitors
- Blood thinners help to reduce or prevent blood clots.
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) help to lower blood pressure and relax the walls of your arteries.
- Beta-blockers help lower blood pressure.
- Calcium channel blockers reduce calcium.
- Cholesterol-lowering medications reduce cholesterol levels.
- Beta-blockers help to slow heart rate.
Implanted Medical Devices
There are a variety of implanted medical devices that can help improve heart failure.
Some examples are:
People with heart failure may need pacemakers to help control and normalize their heart rhythms. Pacemakers are small devices placed into the chest to slow your heart rate when it is beating too fast or increase your heart rate when it is beating too slowly.
An ICD is a device that helps to keep track of your heart rate. It delivers a small electrical shock to your heart if it detects an abnormal heart rhythm, which restores your heart rate back to a normal rhythm.
Ventricular assist devices
These devices are implanted to help your ventricles pump blood more effectively.
Surgical procedures may be needed to restore blood flow to blocked arteries.
Coronary bypass surgery
During this surgery, a healthy artery is harvested from a part of your body and then positioned to bypass the blocked part of the coronary artery. This allows the blood to bypass the blocked artery and flow through the healthy one.
Percutaneous coronary intervention
During this procedure, a catheter with a small deflated balloon is inserted into the blocked artery. The balloon is then inflated to open up the artery. A stent may be placed in the artery to keep it open after the balloon is removed.
A heart transplant is used in extreme or the final stages of heart failure when all other treatment options have failed. A heart transplant involves the removal of part or all of your damaged heart and replacing it with a healthy heart from a donor.