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 Healthcare Blog

We’ve all heard the terms Heart attack and Heart Failure and each one signifies a health crisis involving the heart. Oftentimes, people get confused with these two terms and use them incorrectly. Both have some common causes but they’re different problems with radically different causes and treatments. Let us understand how it is different from one another.

What is the difference between Heart Attack and Heart Failure?

A heart attack is also known as myocardial infarction occurs when adequate blood flow is blocked from reaching an area of the heart often by a blood clot or building a plaque in the arteries. The heart muscles need oxygen to survive, when the blood flow is blocked the muscle begins to die. This is why the heart attack sufferers are rushed into surgery so that the blood flow can be restored before irreversible damage occurs and now there are many best cardiac hospitals in India giving out the best services in any state of emergency.

Heart failure occurs when the heart can’t effectively pump enough blood to meet the needs of your body’s organs and tissues. Narrow coronary arteries with high blood pressure make the heart weak, blocked, or stiff due to which there is improper pumping of blood. Also, a heart attack can lead to heart failure by weakening its pumping ability. Now that we have defined the key difference between Heart Attack and Heart Failure, let’s discuss its few causes and symptoms and potential treatment options.

Causes of Heart Attack:

A complete or partial blockage of the coronary arteries causes a heart attack. Coronary artery disease is the common cause of heart attack. In this condition, the substance called plaque has built upon the walls of the arteries through a process called atherosclerosis.

As plaque accumulates, the coronary arteries become narrow. The plaque within a coronary artery can break, causing a blood clot to form and this blood clot disrupts the blood flow through the coronary arteries, leading to a condition like a heart attack.

The less common cause of heart attack is a spasm (sudden tightening) of the coronary arteries, which is also the reason that restricts blood flow. This usually happens due to severe physical or emotional stress, extreme cold, or using drugs like cocaine. When you consult the best cardiologist in India, he/ she will discuss all the major causes of your condition, leaving you with no confusion.

Causes of Heart Failure:

There are different types of heart failure experienced in different people and each has its different cause:

Systolic Failure: It is often caused by chronic conditions that can cause the heart to become weak or damaged. Some examples of Systolic failure include:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Damage from a previous heart attack
  • Arrhythmia (a disorder of the heart that affects the rate or rhythm at which the heartbeats)
  • Heart Valve Conditions (the disorders that affect any of the valves in your heart)

Diastolic Failure: It can be caused by conditions that force the heart to work harder to pump blood. When this happens the tissue of the heart can stiffen. The causes of diastolic failure include:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

Right-sided Heart Failure: It is often caused by left-sided heart failure. As the left side of the heart weakens, blood backs up in the right side of the heart causing it to work harder. Other causes of Right-sided heart failure include:

  • Congenital Heart Condition (a heart abnormality present at birth)
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (a group of progressive lung diseases)
  • Pulmonary Embolism (a blood clot that occurs in the lungs

Symptoms of Heart Attack and Heart Failure:

The heart treatment in India is renowned for the excellence it provides, the cardiology specialists in India before planning the treatment will discuss and would want to know the symptoms and therefore it is important to be aware of all the possible symptoms:

Common symptoms of heart at Heart Attack are:

  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Pain in the jaw and upper body like arms, back, etc.
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Fatigue, nausea, vomiting
  • Feeling cold
  • Sweating

Common symptoms of Heart Failure are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Edema (swelling) in legs, ankles, and feet
  • Irregular or fast heartbeat

Treatment Options of Heart Attack and Heart Failure:

Heart Attack

This condition needs immediate medical attention as each minute is precious because restoring the blood flow is very important to prevent heart damage. The treatment options are:

  • Medication to prevent further blood clots and to restore blood flow.
  • Medication for controlling cholesterol, blood pressure, and anxiety.
  • A surgical procedure like Coronary angioplasty and stenting and Coronary artery bypass surgery might also be recommended by doctors as per your condition.

Heart Failure

The treatment given for heart failure is lifelong but the condition can be improved and the heart muscle can be strengthened by the right approach. The treatment options are:

  • Medication to lower blood pressure, normalize the heartbeat, reduce edema, manage breathing problems, etc.
  • As per the condition surgery like coronary artery bypass surgery, heart valve repair or replacement, Biventricular pacing (a device to ensure proper pumping of blood) is suggested by doctors.  
  • A heart Transplant is also needed in some cases when heart failure is not responding to any medication or surgery. You can consider getting a heart transplant in India because you can get the best treatment at affordable rates

To Summarize:

Both the conditions of heart attack and heart failure are serious forms of heart conditions that need to be treated by experienced cardiology specialists and surgeons. As we discussed the causes, symptoms vary for both conditions. For better treatment, many international patients are traveling to get treated in India due to the efficiency in treatment. Medical tourism in India has become popular due to the latest innovative treatments given by knowledgeable, skilled doctors at the best affordable rates.


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