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What is the Difference between Heart Attack and Heart Failure?

What is the Difference between Heart Attack and Heart Failure

What is the Difference between Heart Attack and Heart Failure?

Heart attack and the heart failure both are forms of heart disease. This is the common fact between them. However, they also differ in many ways.

Mostly the heart attack happens when one of the arteries leading to heart gets blocked and cuts off the blood flow. Without oxygen, the heart muscles start dying. Heart failure on the other hand usually develops progressively. The heart muscle becomes weaker due to which they become incapable to pump oxygen-enriched blood to all parts of the body. This is a chronic condition and generally gets worse with time.  However, with the help of medications, you can live longer and better.


Both have the root cause of coronary artery disease. This happens when the arteries become narrower or hard due to deposition of fat over the time period.

Causes of Heart Attack

Usually when a piece of plaque breaks off and forms a clot, this, in turn, stops the flow of blood. Sometimes a spasm in a coronary artery can trigger a heart attack even if you do not have to narrow of arteries. Very rarely it also happens that there is a tear in the wall of the coronary artery. This is called spontaneous coronary artery dissection.

Causes of Heart Failure

When your heart is pushing blood through a narrow, blocked space it becomes weaker. And if it is not able to get enough blood supply, it can start to fail. Heart failure can be from other conditions like:

  • Heart valve disease
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Infection
  • Problem with heart muscles
  • Chemotherapy
  • Alcohol overuse
  • Lung disease


Heart Attack Symptoms

  • Feeling of pressure at the center of the chest. It feels like the area is being squeezed or heartburn. The pain may last for several minutes or it may come and go. It can be mild and even severe. But some people do not have it at all.
  • Pain and discomfort in the upper part of your body, in places like neck, jaw, arms, and back generally above the belly button.
  • Trouble breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting, feeling the tired and cold sweat.

Heart Failure Symptoms

If you have a problem like heart failure that you may have following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath especially when you are lying down
  • Wheezing and coughing
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Tiredness
  • Swelling around your ankles, legs and weight gain because of retaining fluid


Heart Attack Treatment

It needs to be treated right away. You will be given blood-thinning aspirin to prevent clots and nitroglycerin to help blood flow. The long-term treatment will depend usually on the cause.you may need a process to open the blocked artery. With percutaneous coronary intervention, a surgeon will try putting tube for removing blockage from the blocked artery. The balloon at the end opens the artery. Also, the surgeon can put tiny mesh called stent to keep the artery open.

The surgeon may also recommend coronary artery bypass grafting. The surgeon takes out healthy blood vessel from le and replaces the damaged vessel to create a detour for the blood. He may recommend some long-term medication. They will also provide medication for blood pressure and cholesterol. He may ask you do exercise and have a controlled diet.

Heart Failure Treatment

He may prescribe some drugs for lowering plod pressure and slow down your heart rate. You will also be given diuretic pills to get rid of extra water from the body. This will also control swelling and shortness of breath.

A certain change in your lifestyle can help you like restricting smoking, losing weight, cutting salt intake and exercising. If the situation gets worse then you may be asked for heart surgery. A pacemaker is implanted and a defibrillator for a steadying heartbeat.