Damar Hamlin, Buffalo Bills safety, suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed on the field during the first quarter of Monday night’s game between the Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, his team said. It’s not clear what caused his cardiac arrest.
Which leads to the question, what exactly is cardiac arrest? According to Heart.Org, cardiac arrest is the abrupt loss of heart function in a person who may or may not has been diagnosed with heart disease. It can come on suddenly or in the wake of other symptoms. Cardiac arrest is often fatal if appropriate steps aren’t taken immediately. More than 356,000 cardiac arrests occur annually outside a hospital in the U.S.
Cardiac arrest and heart attack are not the same. Heart.Org describes a heart attack as being caused by a blockage that stops blood flow to the heart. A heart attack refers to the death of heart muscle tissue due to the loss of blood supply. It’s a problem with one’s circulation. A heart attack is quite serious and sometimes fatal. Cardiac arrest is caused when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions. The heart stops beating properly. The heart’s pumping function is “arrested” or stopped.
In cardiac arrest, death can result quickly if proper steps aren’t taken immediately. Cardiac arrest may be reversed if CPR is performed and a defibrillator shocks the heart and restores a normal heart rhythm within a few minutes.
The symptoms for both are vastly different as well. Heart attacks often begin with sudden chest pain but can also start slowly with mild pain that lasts several hours. Symptoms of a heart attack can vary, and if you’ve had one heart attack, your symptoms may be different if you experience another one. On the other hand, cardiac arrests can often happen to people who didn’t know they had a heart problem. A person experiencing cardiac arrest may collapse and lose consciousness. They may stop breathing or experience difficulty breathing.
If, when reading this, you feel like you may have experienced or are experiencing one of these symptoms, please do not hesitate to Get medical help immediately. Let’s prioritize our health in the new year.
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