Difference between Heart Attack and Heart Failure? - Medx Health Assistance

Difference between Heart Attack and Heart Failure?

A significant number of people are affected by heart disease. The word “heart disease” comprises different heart disorders, including heart failure and heart attacks. Several risk factors, such as smoking, having high blood pressure or having high cholesterol, raise the odds of developing heart disease.

Heart failure is not the same as a heart attack, even though they all fall under the category of heart disease. It’s essential to understand the distinctions between the two in case one has a cardiac accident. Knowing the difference will assist the doctor in making an accurate decision and initiating successful care right away.

Heart Attack Vs. Heart Failure

Heart failure, which is also called congestive heart failure. Heart failure occurs when one’s heart is too stiff or weak to pump blood effectively to the rest of the body. This might occur due to high blood pressure or conditions like coronary artery disease, in which the arteries supplying one’s heart with blood become narrower. 

Heart failure is usually a gradual process. The heart muscle weakens and has difficulty in pumping blood to nourish the body’s cells. This is a chronic illness that worsens over time. Medications will help the patient live longer and healthier.

Heart attack, with another name, myocardial infarction, occurs when blood flow to one’s heart is blocked or stopped altogether. Blood carries oxygen to one’s heart muscle. Anything that can block a blood vessel, for instance, build-ups of fat or cholesterol, prevents enough oxygen from reaching one’s heart, which in turn damages or even destroys some part of the heart muscle itself. Many heart attacks happen suddenly. The heart muscles begin to die without oxygen. 

Heart attacks impair the heart’s capacity to pump blood, which can lead to heart failure. After a heart attack, heart failure may strike unexpectedly. Acute heart failure is the medical term for this condition. The symptoms are typically severe at first. However, with therapy and medication, the patient can recover rapidly.

Heart attack’s symptoms Vs. Heart Failure’s symptoms 

Generally, congestive heart failure causes symptoms that reflect the heart’s inability to pump blood efficiently. Signs might come and go, or they might persist over a period of time. If the patient develops new symptoms or the existing symptoms get worse, it might mean that the patient’s current treatment isn’t effective and that the condition is deteriorating.  

Heart failure symptoms may include:

  • Foamy mucus or phlegm, coughing up white or pink.
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Loss of appetite or nausea
  • Shortness of breath when the patient lies down or exert energy. 
  • Swelling of one’s abdomen or extremities caused by fluid retention. 

Heart attack signs may occur hours, days, or even weeks before the actual attack. Moreover, some people have no symptoms at all, and others have serious symptoms right away. 

Symptoms of a significant heart attack include:

  • Pressure, tightness, chest pain or a squeezing sensation.
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Light-headedness 
  • Indigestion, heartburn or nausea.
  • Discomfort in one’s arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Cold sweats


Heart attacks must be handled as soon as possible. A quick procedure such as angioplasty may be recommended to open the blocked artery. A surgeon threads a tube through the blocked artery during percutaneous coronary intervention. Then a tiny balloon attached to the tube’s end is inflated to open the artery. At the same time, they can insert a stent, a small mesh tube that keeps the artery open.

Coronary artery bypass grafting may be recommended by doctors. To create a detour for the blood, the surgeon removes a healthy blood vessel and connects it to the damaged vessel.

Heart attacks are generally treated with a mixture of drugs to help avoid blood clots, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and alleviate any pain. 

If one has heart failure, the doctors can suggest that one should take the following medications:

  • Medications that increase the heart’s pumping capacity and reduce the amount of excess fluid in your body, such as those that help expand blood vessels.
  • Physical therapy under supervision to boost the heart’s pumping ability. Individualised aerobic and strength exercises are included.
  • A heart transplant or a coronary bypass to get blood around a blocked artery, the implantation of certain forms of pacemakers, or a coronary bypass to get blood around a blocked artery.

Heart failure and heart attacks can both be terrifying, but recognising the differences will help the patient to get the proper care quicker. Notify the doctor right away if they have any signs of a heart attack or heart failure.


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