What Is the Difference Between a Stroke and a Heart Attack?

What Is the Difference Between a Stroke and a Heart Attack?

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the world. In the United States alone, it’s responsible for nearly 655,000 deaths each year.

What is it? It’s an umbrella term that describes several conditions including arrhythmia, congenital heart disease, angina, heart attack, and stroke, all of which can potentially be fatal.

What’s the difference between a stroke and a heart attack? Want to know? If so, you’re on the right page because that’s what we’ll be going over below.

Keep reading to learn more about the two conditions!

Stroke vs Heart Attack


A stroke occurs when blood stops flowing to the brain. Generally speaking, this is due to a clot or a rupture in the blood vessel.

A medical emergency, it requires immediate treatment; the longer you wait, the greater the risk of complications. For example, it can cause permanent disabilities, depending on how long the brain went without oxygen.

Heart Attack

A myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack, occurs when an artery supplying the heart muscle with blood becomes blocked. As a result, the heart will go without oxygen. In other words, its cells will begin to die.

While it can be fatal, treatment has improved significantly over the years.

Symptoms of a Stroke

A stroke can cause various symptoms. For example, it can cause trouble speaking. Not only that, but it can cause numbness or paralysis of the face, arm, or leg.

Other signs include headache, vision problems, and trouble walking.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Most heart attacks are accompanied by chest pain in the center or left side of the chest. Generally speaking, it will last for more than a few minutes. In some cases, it may go away and come back.

In addition to that, it can cause light-headedness, pain in the jaw, neck, or back, and shortness of breath (these symptoms are more common in women).

Treating a Stroke or Heart Attack

Treatment for stroke depends on the type of stroke. For example, ischemic strokes are typically treated with anticoagulants and clot-breaking drugs. In contrast, hemorrhagic strokes are treated with drugs that will help make your blood clot.

As for heart attacks, they’re usually treated with surgical procedures such as an angioplasty, heart bypass surgery, or heart valve surgery. In severe cases, a heart transplant may be necessary.

In addition to that, your doctor may prescribe medications. For instance, some drugs are used with low-dose aspirin to prevent heart attacks. You can learn more about one such example on this page.

Understanding the Difference Between a Stroke and a Heart Attack

Now you know all about the difference between a stroke and a heart attack! As you can see, their symptoms are quite different. When in doubt, call 911. After all, they’re both medical emergencies!

For more posts like this, check out the rest of our health and fitness category!

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