What is the Difference Between Stroke and Heart Attack: Stroke and heart attack are two different medical problems, although the symptoms and effects may have similarities. Both are cardiovascular diseases, which means they involve the blood vessels (arteries, in particular). Unfortunately, they can also lead to permanent disability and death.
Both conditions occur suddenly and require immediate medical attention. But when these symptoms abruptly appear, will you know how to differentiate one from the other? Read on to know the difference between stroke and heart attack.
Stroke VS Heart Attack
What is a Stroke?
Stroke is a serious life-threatening condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. It is typically caused by a blockage or laceration of the blood vessels in the brain. In both scenarios, the brain tissue will die as it does not receive the much-needed oxygen for functioning.
Symptoms of Stroke
- Sudden loss of balance or dizziness
- Weakness or numbness on one side (area) of the body
- Severe headache
- Blurred vision in one or both eyes
- Slurred speech and more.
There is a wide range of stroke symptoms, and they can be difficult to remember. For easier recall, remember the term FAST.
F stands for facial drooping, A for arm weakness, S for speech difficulties, and T is time to call the emergency services.
What is a Heart Attack?
Heart attacks are often the result of progressive coronary artery disease (CAD). In the event of CAD, the arteries that are responsible for supplying blood to the heart are blocked with fatty deposits or plaque. These will result in narrowing or blockage of arteries, otherwise known as atherosclerosis.
Blood clots will then form, blocking the flow of blood to the heart. When this happens, the heart muscle will be deprived of the oxygen and nutrients it needs. Some parts of the heart may damage or die and can lead to a heart attack.
Heart attack is also known as myocardial infarction.
Symptoms of a Heart Attack
The symptoms of a heart attack may occur suddenly, or it can build up over some time, sometimes days or weeks. The common symptoms are:
- Chest pain or tightness
- Pain in the arm or shoulders
- Pain in the back, neck, or jaw
- Shortness of breath
- Weakness, dizziness, and fainting
Next Steps for First Aid
If you suspect someone may be having a stroke or heart attack, call Triple Zero or seek immediate medical treatment. If the person stops breathing, perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or use a defibrillator if one is available.
If the person is breathing and conscious, monitor their condition while waiting for medical help to arrive. Some professionals suggest taking the aspirin unless the person is allergic to it.
Prevention is Key to Both Stroke and Heart Attack
In both conditions, quick response is essential; but prevention is even better. In most cases, both stroke and heart attack can be averted by preventing its risk factors. These include chronic and short-term stress, smoking, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle. Genetics and age play a secondary role and are sometimes unavoidable.
The best way to reduce the risk of suffering from neither stroke nor heart attack is to make healthy lifestyle choices. Eat healthily, engage in physical activities, refrain from smoking, and learn first aid are the best ways to lessen the risk of disability and even death.
Want to learn more about stroke and heart attack? Learn first aid to provide a proper response in a heart emergency and save lives.
Contact our team at First Aid Courses Darwin for a first aid training course. We’re here to help.