Heart Arrest: Symptoms, Prevention, and Natural Remedies

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What is a heart arrest? Let’s find out everything there is to know about this heart-related issue.

A heart arrest, or cardiac arrest, is an electrical problem, the heart stops beating and needs to be restarted. It may be triggered by a series of medical issues or trauma disrupting the heart’s normal rhythm.

In other words, a cardiac arrest is when a person’s heart stops pumping blood in the body and his or her breathing is not normal.

Heart Arrest: Symptoms

What are the symptoms of a heart arrest?

If a person has a heart arrest, he or she will collapse and will be unconscious. There are some signs of sudden cardiac arrest, such as:

  • Racing heart rate (palpitations),
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness with exercise,
  • Fainting repeatedly,
  • Seizures,
  • Shortness of breath,
  • Chest pain with exercise.

Heart Arrest and Heart Attack: Are They the Same?

The terms “heart arrest” and “heart attack” may be confused. Although they can be related, they are actually different types of cardiac emergencies.

On the one hand, a heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked (typically because of a blood clot or plaque that built up in the arteries over time).

On the other hand, a heart arrest occurs when the heart has stopped beating and needs to be restarted.

While a heart attack is a circulation issue, a cardiac arrest is an electrical problem. Heart attacks are not as serious as cardiac arrests, but they are both emergency situations.

Furthermore, a heart attack may be a cause for heart arrests. In a heart attack, the heart muscle needs oxygen to function properly, so when bleed flow is blocked, the heart muscle begins to die due to that lack of oxygen. To avoid irreversible damage, a person having a heart attack requires to be rushed to a hospital to get prompt medical care.

Heart Arrest: What Causes it?

We mentioned above that a heart arrest may be caused by a heart attack (caused by coronary heart disease), but there are also other common causes:

  • Ventricular fibrillation (or VF, a life-threatening abnormal heart rhythm),
  • Cardiomyopathy and some inherited heart conditions,
  • Congenital heart disease,
  • Acute myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle,
  • Heart valve disease.

Other causes include:

  • A drug overdose (using cocaine, illegal inhalants or recreational drugs),
  • Severe haemorrhage, that is, losing a lot of blood,
  • Hypoxia,
  • Electrocution.

If a member of your family died before age 50 due to heart disease or there are unexplained deaths due to drowning or motor vehicle accidents, it may be a factor or genetic predisposition that raises the risk of heart disease.

Heart Arrest: How is it Treated?

If a person has a heart arrest, starting CPR is critical to keep blood and oxygen circulating to the brain and around the body.

After CPR, a defibrillator will be needed to deliver a controlled electric shock to try and get the heart beating normally again.

If someone is having a cardiac arrest, we must immediately call an emergency line, start CPR, and, if there is a defibrillator nearby, use it.

If you call the emergency line, you will probably be told by an operator to carry out a series of instructions until the emergency services arrive and take over.

Heart Arrest: What Happens next?

After the person who had a heart arrest is examined in a hospital, the patient is usually put in an induced coma for the body to recover.

Afterwards, doctors will determine the cause for the heart arrest and recommend medication and treatment, for example implanting a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator or ACD, to prevent it from happening again.

For mid-term recovery, the patient will be referred to cardiac rehabilitation to rebuild confidence, fitness, and strength. The treatment depends on the patient but it typically involves assessing blood pressure, health education, and psychological support.

Heart Arrest: How to Recover from one

If you had a heart arrest, you will need a lot of support from your doctor, family and friends. You may forget you had a heart arrest, and your family may be alarmed by this, but it is normal. Experiencing this issue may affect your mental and emotional state, so it is always a good idea to visit a therapist or a counselor to improve your emotional wellbeing.

A person may experience some long-term effects in the brain, including:

  • Memory problems,
  • Fatigue,
  • Personality changes,
  • Dizziness,
  • Aphasia or dysphasia (speech and language problems),
  • Permanent brain injury,
  • Myoclonus (involuntary movements).

Some lifestyle changes will be required. If you return to work it may not be the same after a heart arrest, and you may need to reevaluate your ability to drive.

Heart Arrest: Tips to Reduce the Risk of another Cardiac Arrest

If you had a heart arrest, your doctor may suggest some lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Quitting smoking (cigarette smoke contains chemicals that damage your heart and blood vessels),
  • Eating a healthy diet (follow a plant-based diet, cut down on salt and salty food like pizza, fast-food, and processed foods),
  • Lower your cholesterol levels (it protects you against another heart attack),
  • Manage your blood pressure (visit your doctor to know what is the best way to reach your ideal number),
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs or reduce intake as much as possible,
  • Exercising regularly (as advised by your doctor),
  • Get proper sleep, at least 7 hours (bad sleep leads to bad health; sleep apnea and insomnia raise the risk of heart disease; cut off exposure to blue electric lights from computers, TV, or phone 2 or 3 hours before bedtime),
  • Lower your stress levels (finding a better way to manage your stress due to personal, financial or health issues is an excellent piece of advice, so you may consider taking up a hobby or an activity for your self-care).

Heart Arrest: Natural Remedies to Improve your Heart’s Health

  1. Garlic: crush it and consume it to lower your cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation.
  2. Coenzyme Q-10: this antioxidant lowers your cholesterol.
  3. Resveratrol: it is found in two things we love, chocolate and red wine.
  4. Flaxseed: as it is rich in omega 3 fatty acid, it helps lower blood pressure and inflammation.
  5. Vitamin K2: leafy green veggies contain this vitamin that helps reduce the risk of death due to heart problems.

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