Caregivers in Seal Beach, CA

Caregivers in Seal Beach, CAThe month of February, American Heart Month, is a great time for caregivers to review what to do if their loved one were to have a medical emergency involving the heart. Two of these kinds of medical emergencies include heart attack and cardiac arrest, but it is important to know that these two conditions are not one in the same. Should an elderly adult ever experience a heart attack or cardiac arrest, it is important for their caregiver to know the difference between the two and to be prepared and know exactly what to do. Read on to learn the difference between heart attack and cardiac arrest and what to do if either medical emergency ever occurs.

Heart Attack:
When an artery blockage stops oxygen-rich blood from entering the heart, a heart attack is the result. When not treated right away, a heart attack can have serious medical consequences. However, the symptoms of a heart attack do not always happen suddenly and they aren’t always easy to recognize (though this is sometimes the case). In some instances, the symptoms of a heart attack can begin slowly and progress over the course of several hours, days, or even weeks. Caregivers should review the symptoms of a heart attack so that they can recognize one if one should occur in their loved one. Symptoms include fatigue, heart palpitations, pain or tightness in the chest or in other areas of the upper body, dizziness, a cold sweat, and anxiety. Caregivers who suspect that their loved one is experiencing a heart attack should call 911 and seek medical help immediately.

Cardiac Arrest:
Unlike a heart attack, cardiac arrest always occurs suddenly. If the heart stops beating suddenly and without warning, the result is cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest can be fatal if not treated immediately. A victim of cardiac arrest can be saved only if treatment begins within minutes. This means that a caregiver must call 911, begin CPR, and continue performing CPR until EMS arrives and can take over. If an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) is available, it should be used.

Is there a link?
Though these two conditions are different, there is a link between the two. A heart attack can sometimes lead to sudden cardiac arrest, but not in all cases. One of the most common causes of cardiac arrest is a heart attack.

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