Heart Attack vs Heart Failure pt 1

I never knew the difference between a heart attack and heart failure. Most people I interact with are also not sure.  This site helps a little bit, although it does not share the variations of heart failure.

When I talk to colleagues and say I was diagnosed with heart failure, they quickly ask if it was open heart surgery and which part of my heart that was blocked.

As I explain that it was a failure, their faces turn into a question mark. They perhaps wonder why I was off work for so long. Well, most people do understand that heart failure is really serious and recovery takes time, but the cause and effect is a mystery to most.

It is equally challenging to share this information and explain it to my family. Heart failure perhaps doesn’t sound as serious as a heart attack.  Getting the seriousness across, especially for family and/or friends who are not living nearby, requires some long conversations.  You can’t rush through what happened without sharing the gory details which can take a few minutes.

Not taking anything away from heart attack patients, but they can easier explain it was an attack and the corrective surgery actions. It’s much easier to comprehend for me as well.  It is more common knowledge and affects many families.  I’m sure you’ve had family or colleagues who have experienced heart attacks.

My heart failure was caused by a viral infection that “attacked” my heart. It resulted in the left ventricle to work overdrive which in turn weakened the heart capacity.  It did not happen overnight. The urgent care clinic I initially visited, diagnosed me with pneumonia, mainly because symptoms are very similar. Heart failure is frequently misdiagnosed with pneumonia, so I learned.

Surgery cannot fix heart failure unless you count in a potential ICD / pacemaker.

Only time, medication, proper rest, exercises, lifestyle changes, and a positive attitude can improve the outcomes. Some heart failures will never heal or fully recover.

In my simple view, heart attacks can be fixed with surgery and heart failure cannot.

I would wish neither to my worst enemy!

I think that both heart attacks and heart failures differently impact the patient’s mental state, and how they deal with it during recovery.

– that’ll be in part 2 of this series 🙂

  1. Do you think I’m wrong?
  2. What is your understanding of both?
  3. Any tips for explaining this better?

Look forward to your comments, feedback, and thoughts.

Read part 2 of the debate here.

One comment

Leave a Reply