A heart attack occurs when a blocked artery prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching a section of the heart. If the blocked artery is not reopened quickly, the part of the heart normally nourished by that artery begins to die. Symptoms of a heart attack may be immediate and intense however, symptoms start slowly and persist for hours, days or weeks before a heart attack.
Cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly. It is triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat. With its pumping action disrupted, the heart cannot pump blood and within seconds a person loses consciousness and has no pulse. Death occurs within minutes if the victim does not receive treatment.Learn the common warning signs. Fast action can save lives.