Posts tagged: heart attack

Heart Attack vs. Cardiac Arrest – Do You Know The Difference?

Heart Attack vs. Cardiac Arrest – Do You Know The Difference?
Infographic – Photo sources – see foot of article

People often confuse cardiac arrest and heart attacks due to the similarities in the names and symptoms.

Both conditions cause millions of deaths every year, with an increasing incidence driven by the obesity epidemic. [1]

What Is Cardiac Arrest?

Cardiac arrest is an umbrella term used to describe an electrical dysfunction of the heart which halts the function of pumping blood.

There are several possible causes of cardiac arrest including heart attack, drug overdose, hypoxia, ventricular fibrillation, torsade de pointes (a dangerous type of arrhythmia) and electric shock.

Ventricular fibrillation is an electrical activity inside the heart that is so chaotic that the heart quivers or ‘fibrillates’ instead of pumping.

To rescue patients with cardiac arrest, doctors shock the heart with electrical pads in an attempt to reset the electrical current inside the muscle.

Cardiac arrest often happens without warning and leads to sudden collapse. The patient will typically be unconscious and unresponsive. Without immediate medical attention the person will die. Phone emergency services immediately and start CPR.

CPR helps blood and oxygen circulate to the brain and prevent brain damage. Many public places have defibrillators which are simple to use and have instructions. These deliver controlled electrical pulses which may help the heart to beat normally again.

Note on electric shock: In cases of electric shock, the first important step is to turn off the electrical supply and be sure that the patient is not still receiving electrical current. This is of course for the well being of the patient – but also, touching a person who is still receiving electric current could result in the second person being shocked! If the patient is in water and there is a likelihood that the water is still electrified, for example in case of a fallen power line, don’t touch the water or metal / conductive objects that are touching the water until it has been established that the electrical supply has been shut off! Any potentially dangerous electrical condition or fault should of course be reported to the emergency services.

What Is A Heart Attack?

A heart attack refers to the obstruction of blood supply to the heart muscle. The condition is also known as myocardial infarction, and it’s typically caused by a type of coronary artery disease. [2] A heart attack can lead to cardiac arrest.

During a heart attack, the coronary artery (i.e., the primary vessel that supplies the heart) gets clogged, which leads to the starvation and death of heart cells.

The patient will typically be conscious but may be in a state of panic. Keep them calm.

In either case, you should make an emergency call immediately and stay with the patient until help arrives.


[1] Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2017 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association (2017).

[2] Ojha, N., & Dhamoon, A. S. (2019). Myocardial Infarction. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.

Infographic Photo Sources:

7 Key Foods That Lower Cholesterol And Reduce Heart Attack Risk

Cholesterol2-WPFacts You Need To Know About Cholesterol graphic ©
Food images – Wikipedia lic. under CC (see foot of article for full license info)

Did you know that according to studies, eating food such as red meat, milk, products that are high in dairy content, and deep fried food contribute to having high cholesterol? [1] High cholesterol is known to increase the risk of having stroke, heart attacks and clogging of the arteries. [2] The medical term for high blood cholesterol is hyperlipidemia (lipid disorder). [3]

Cholesterol in the body is divided into two types, the “good cholesterol” or HDL, and the “bad cholesterol” or LDL. In simple terms, eating less foods that have bad cholesterol and consuming more of those those rich in good cholesterol is a key strategy to decreasing your risk of stroke, heart attacks and clogged arteries. [1]

Certain foods, interestingly, have been found to have direct cholesterol-lowering effects. These food items have been studied by scientists and they have all been found to help lower bad cholesterol in the body:

1) Cocoa Products: Studies have shown that having a Spanish-Mediterranean diet and eating 15mg of cacao daily reduces bad cholesterol in the body by increasing the good cholesterol. [4] Eating cacao didn’t only help the healthy individuals but also those who have moderate hypercholesterolemia, or greatly elevated cholesterol levels. Note that while chocolate contains cacao, it’s advisable to find cacao products with low sugar and/or less harmful sugars. It’s possible to obtain pure raw cacao and this can easily be added to smoothies and many other foods for the beneficial effects.

2) Okra, Eggplant, Vegetables in General: A diet rich in vegetables has been shown to increase good cholesterol and reduce the bad. [5] However specific vegetables have shown very interesting results in tests – for example okra, which was found by a 2014 study to have direct potential to be considered as a “medicinal food” for the management of high cholesterol: In the study, okra dose-dependently decreased serum and hepatic total cholesterol and triglyceride, and enhanced fecal excretion of bile acids. [6] Beneficial effects have also been noted for eggplant (aka aubergine). [7]

3) Fruit: Consuming fresh fruit of all kinds also has been associated with healthy cholesterol levels. [5]

4) Fiber rich food such as barley, oats, and whole grain: [5] According to the nutrition guidelines, 20 to 35 grams of fiber is recommended to be consumed daily. [1]

5) Soy and soy products: Soy products – from tofu to soy milk can reduce bad cholesterol. [5] Research has shown that eating 25 grams/day of soy protein lowers bad cholesterol by 5-6%. [1]

6) Nuts: All kinds of nuts, from almonds to pistachios, when eaten daily (2 oz) lower bad cholesterol by 5% [1] to 8%, [5] according to studies. [1]

7) Fatty fish: Eating fish such as salmon two or 3 times per week can lower LDL in two ways: first by replacing meat portions, which have LDL-boosting saturated fats, and by delivering LDL-lowering omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats have been found to reduce triglycerides in the bloodstream and protect the heart. [1]

All in all, consuming soy and soy products, fish, nuts, fiber-rich food, vegetables and fruits or food items with known cholesterol-lowering properties reduces high cholesterol significantly. [8] Changing one’s eating habits may not be easy at first. But making the switch from consuming LDL food items to HDL ones is just one of the ways to be healthier and to decrease the risk of getting cardiovascular-related diseases.



[1] 11 foods that lower cholesterol.

[2] High Cholesterol.

[3] Hyperlipidemia – American Heart Association.

[4] Realistic intake of a flavanol-rich soluble cocoa product increases HDL-cholesterol without inducing anthropometric changes in healthy and moderately hypercholesterolemic subjects.

[5] Lowering LDL-cholesterol through diet: potential role in the statin era.

[6] Hypolipidemic activity of okra is mediated through inhibition of lipogenesis and upregulation of cholesterol degradation. (2014).

[7] Direct comparison of a dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods with a statin in hypercholesterolemic participants. (2005).

[8] Effect of a dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods given at 2 levels of intensity of dietary advice on serum lipids in hyperlipidemia: a randomized controlled trial.