Helpful terms

Arrhythmias are abnormal beats. The term refers to any change from the normal sequence of electrical impulses, causing abnormal heart rhythms. Arrhythmias may be completely harmless or life-threatening.

Cardiac arrest is the abrupt loss of heart function in a person who may or may not have diagnosed heart disease. Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become rapid or chaotic, which causes the heart to suddenly stop beating.

Congestive heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood through the heart to meet the body’s needs for blood and oxygen. Heart failure is a serious condition, and usually there’s no cure. But many people with heart failure lead a full, enjoyable life when the condition is managed with medications and healthy lifestyle changes.

A heart attack (or myocardial infarction) is caused by a blockage that stops blood flow to the heart, causing death of heart muscle tissue due to the loss of blood supply. A heart attack is not the same as cardiac arrest, but a heart attack may cause cardiac arrest and sudden death.

High blood pressure, also known as HBP or hypertension, is a widely misunderstood medical condition. Hypertension has nothing to do with personality traits, such as being tense, nervous or hyperactive. You can be a calm, relaxed person and still have HBP. Blood pressure measures the force pushing outwards on your arterial walls.

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is a narrowing of the peripheral arteries, most common in the arteries of the pelvis and legs. PAD is similar to coronary artery disease (CAD) and carotid artery disease. All three of these conditions are caused by narrowed and blocked arteries in various critical regions of the body.

Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it starts to die.