Your heart is a muscle and it is an organ.
What is heart failure?
The American Heart Association describes heart failure as a condition that occurs when this important organ, essentially a pump, cannot effectively push blood out through the arteries and circulatory system to the body’s other organs and tissues.
Congestive heart failure, a worsening of this general condition, means blood flow from the heart through the arteries has slowed while blood returning to the heart through the veins has begun to back up and combined they cause congestion — a blood traffic jam.
Conditions that can lead to heart failure include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and coronary artery disease: when plaque builds up in the walls of arteries causing them to narrow and increasing the difficulty of pumping blood.
Heart failure, then, is a medical condition that needs to be treated to prevent a life-threatening heart attack.
What is a heart attack (myocardial infarction)?
A heart attack is a circulation problem. When circulation is blocked and blood is no longer supplied to the heart muscle it can damage that muscle. Blockages causing heart attacks are mostly caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries. Plaque forms when cholesterol combines with fat, calcium and other substances in the blood.
Major risk factors for heart attack are obesity, diabetes, family history, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and lack of exercise. You do not need to have all of these to be at risk.
What is sudden cardiac arrest?
Cardiac arrest is the result of electrical disturbances that cause the heart to suddenly stop beating.
Your heart’s rhythm is rapid and irregular and your heart can’t pump effectively, so you suddenly collapse, as you might expect, a sudden, unexpected loss of heart function results in an equally sudden loss of breathing and consciousness.
One cause of cardiac arrest is heart attack!
Worldwide, heart disease is the leading cause of death, accounting for more than 17.3 million deaths each year
Two things you can do:
- Learn CPR. The importance of chest compressions, using a Defibrillator, and knowing the warning signs cannot be understated. AND, it is not done like you see it on TV! Please go take a class, you could save someone’s life.
- Incorporate the necessary lifestyle changes in your life and your families lives to combat the leading causes applicable. You can’t do too much about the genetic factor, if you have one, but you certainly can address weight, activity, diet, and exercise.
Give your heart a fighting chance!