This year, the world has lost many talented individuals, and with the last string of celebrity deaths as 2016 comes to close, we are once again reminded why cardiovascular disease is the number one killer when it comes to illness, across the globe.
CNN reported that the world is currently mourning the death of actress Carrie Fisher, who portrayed the iconic Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise. Fisher passed away on December 27th, only 60 years of age, after she suffered a heart attack on a Los Angeles flight days before. George Michael, acclaimed singer and well known for his pop days with the ‘80s group WHAM!, died on Christmas Day at the age of 53 due to a failed heart, while peacefully asleep. Earlier in the month of December, television actor Alan Thicke, 69 years old, died after playing hockey with his son and suffering a heart attack.
All three talents left this world far too soon and passed away quite suddenly, sending shockwaves through the entertainment industry.
This absolutely signals a need for the public to learn more about cardiovascular disease. As Dr. Nieca Golderberg, spokesperson for the American Heart Association, notes, it is also important for the public to learn about how to register cardiopulmonary resuscitation; an initial step to help save someone’s life when they collapse.
But what is the difference between heart failure, a heart attack, and cardiac arrest?
Heart failure occurs when the heart, moreover ‘the pump’ in this organ, can no longer push blood through the circulatory system and arteries to a person’s tissues and other organs. While a heart attack occurs when a circulation issues pops up, cutting off the blood supplied to the heart; treatment for heart failure is desperately needed to avoid a future heart attack. Meanwhile cardiac arrest happens when the hearts simply stops beating due to electrical disturbances.
As with any condition, the importance of survival is being tuned into the signs and symptoms so that action can be taken immediately. Warning signs around a heart attack include pain/discomfort in the chest area, jaw pain, vomiting and nausea, pain in the back or neck, a lightheaded feeling, and of course, shortness of breath.