How Is a Stroke Different From a Heart Attack?


You may have some previous knowledge about heart attacks and strokes, but maybe you're not quite sure how exactly they're different. Maybe the extent of your knowledge is that heart attacks occur in the heart and strokes occur in the brain. While a heart attack is certainly different from a stroke, the risk factors are very similar.

Common risk factors

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Atrial fibrillation (abnormal heart rhythm)
  • Family history
  • Age
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Aside from the risk factors, heart attacks and strokes are rather different. Here is a basic breakdown of those differences.

Heart attack

What is it? A heart attack occurs when a sudden damage or death happens in a part of the heart muscle. The damage to the heart muscle is usually caused by a blocked coronary artery which prevents oxygen from getting to the heart's muscle tissue. The heart attack is the most common cause of death in the United States. Every year, roughly 88,000 women aged 45 to 64 experience a heart attack.

Causes Heart attacks are often caused by a blocked artery or a halt in blood flow.

Stroke

What is it? A stroke occurs when the brain tissue is deprived of oxygen, leading to damage or death of the brain tissue in the area affected by the stroke. Strokes can result in permanent brain tissue damage or death. If the extent of the brain tissue damage is large enough, the person may die. It's the fifth most common cause of death in the United States.

Causes Most often, a stroke is caused by a blood clot in an artery in the brain that cuts off the brain's circulation.

Aneurysm test

While these health challenges can sometimes come at incredibly unsuspecting times, there are often signs and symptoms present that can predict the heart attack or stroke. One of the best things you can do to identify and prevent these serious health issues is to get a preventive health screening.

They come in many forms in terms of heart attack and stroke prevention, including aneurysm tests, heart disease screening, cardiovascular screening, blood pressure screening, and more. These screening can help you with early detection so you can change your lifestyle and reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

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