- A heart attack is a muscle problem, but sudden cardiac arrest is an electrical problem
- A heart attack can lead to sudden cardiac death, leaving a patient only minutes to live unless treated
But not all heart disease is the same. It can affect the blood vessels to the heart or brain, heart muscles and valves, and other areas of the body. Cardiovascular diseases can require long-term treatment, or they can come on suddenly and seriously.
"That's why it's very important for all of us to learn how to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation," said Dr. Nieca Goldberg
, a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association.
"That's the first step when someone collapses to help save their life," added Goldberg, who is also medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health at the NYU Langone Medical Center in NYC.
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