Submitted by Lucy Wyndham

UNDATED ( – When 57-year-old Lane Unhjem’s combine caught fire while out in his North Dakota farm, he experienced a severe heart attack while trying to put it out.

Meanwhile, a close family friend, Jenny Binde, wanted to organize a way to help the farm while Unjhem was out of commission, resulting in tons of local farmers and neighbors volunteering to help. Thankfully, while Unhjem is still in the ICU in critical condition, the farm was looked after, allowing the family to focus on his health.

Approximately 655,000 Americans will die of a heart attack every year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention. Not to mention, Heart disease has been the leading cause of death for both men and women in most ethnic and racial backgrounds. However, prompt treatment can lessen the damage and serious complications that may occur in the future. But, what’s the difference between a cardiac arrest or a heart attack? Having proper knowledge may not only help others but can also save your own life one day.

Cardiac Arrest vs. Heart Attack: Understanding The Difference 

Cardiac arrest and heart attacks are often used interchangeably and are not entirely the same. A Sudden cardiac arrest happens when there is a sudden electrical malfunction in the heart that triggers an arrhythmia, otherwise known as an irregular heartbeat. The heart begins to pump blood at irregular intervals, which causes a decreased or zero blood flow to the brain or heart. As a result, this leads to loss of consciousness and no pulse.

This is an emergency situation where proper health services should be called and CPR should be immediately performed by a trained individual to mechanically keep the heart pumping until first aid responders arrive. A defibrillator is used by emergency medical services to give the heart a jump start and reset the electrical rhythm to keep the heart pumping.

What To Do During a Heart Attack

A heart attack is a feeling that one will always remember as it is often described as having an elephant sitting on your chest. Once you have called for emergency care, individuals should lie down and be given enough space to breathe. Medications, such as aspirin tablets, can be taken and chewed immediately. It is important not to swallow it whole as it has antithrombotic effects that can help dissolve clots, according to the Harvard Health Letter.

There are also potential risks for taking aspirin as not all heart attacks are caused by clots. Instead, they may be dissolved in the system and cannot stop permanent damage. Nitroglycerin that is used in angina should also be avoided as it is reserved for patients that have heart pain while physically exerting themselves.

Understanding the medical difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest along with their signs and symptoms can make the difference in a life-saving situation. Knowing the proper channels to call emergency help should also be prepared and known by everyone. Do not ignore minor symptoms as it can lead to permanent damage or death.