How to distinguish between Heart Attack and Heart Failure

Both heart attack and heart failure are terms very often used in the medical context. Both refer to problems that directly affect the correct functioning of the heart. The heart is an organ of vital importance for the body as it is responsible for affecting the functioning of all other organs and tissues of the human body.

Of all the problems that can affect the heart, the two most common are heart failure and heart attack; hence, people often confuse one condition with the other and believe that it is the same. However, although both problems sound similar, they should never be confused, since they are different.

What is the difference?

Heart failure is when the heart is unable to maintain blood flow, thereby causing a drastic drop in blood pressure. Due to this the heart muscles get weak slowly with time and are unable to function properly. In turn, heart failure causes the kidneys to retain water and salt, which causes fluid to accumulate in parts of the body such as the knees, legs, feet, and arms.

On the other hand,Heart attack, which is also known as myocardial infarction, affects the human body when the said organ is unable to receive blood due to a blockage in one of the major arteries. As the blood flow becomes restricted, it causes the heart cells to die. This reduced blood flow further restricts oxygen supply to the heart due to which severe chest pain is manifested and usually this pain spreads to your shoulders, arms, neck and to your back.

Symptoms of a heart attack include discomfort in the chest, arms, back, along with sweating, nausea, shortness of breath and irregular heartbeat. You can have a heart attack without any symptoms, especially in "diabetic" patients, "silent" heart attacks are common.

Due to our sedentary lifestyle and bad eating habits, the arteries start to accumulate fat and other substances which are not good for your health and eventually result in heart diseases.

How to distinguish between Heart Attack and Heart Failure
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