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


Having a stroke or a heart attack is a scary, life-changing event for anyone. So regardless of whether you’ve received medical training in the past or not. Knowing the difference between the two attacks can save your own life or someone else’s.

But if you’re not wired to understand the medical jargon, how are you to know which is which? If you’re trying to work out the difference between a stroke and a heart attack, check out our guide below.

In no time, you’ll know the differences between a stroke vs. heart attack.

What is a Stroke?

Strokes occur when the blood supply to the brain gets disrupted by a blockage or clot. The most common risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure. Others include irregular heart rhythms, smoking, lack of physical activity, obesity, and diabetes.

Types of Strokes

There are 5 different types of strokes. These are Ischemic, Hemmorhagic, TIA, Brain Stem and Cryptogenic. Here are the definitions of each:

Ischemic Stroke

This type of stroke accounts for the vast majority of all strokes. It occurs when a blood clot forms inside one of the brain’s blood vessels or arteries, injuring brain tissue. When this happens, a person may have weakness on one side of their body and problems with speaking or vision.

Hemorrhagic Stroke

This type of stroke accounts for many non-ischemic strokes and occurs when a blood vessel in your brain bursts. This causes bleeding inside the brain. When this happens, a person may experience weakness on one side of their body and problems with speaking or vision.

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

This type of stroke happens when a transient lack of blood supply to the brain. It isn’t permanent, which means that symptoms will improve on their own within 24 hours.

Brain Stem Stroke

This type of stroke occurs when the blood supply to a specific area of the brain stem gets disrupted. When this happens, a person may experience neck weakness (as well as other symptoms).

Cryptogenic Stroke

This type happens when blockages appear in a blood vessel with no prior warning symptoms.

What is a Heart Attack?

A heart attack occurs when the artery supplying oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle becomes blocked by plaque. This prevents oxygen from reaching an area of your heart muscle which means it dies.

Types of Heart Attacks

Heart attacks classify into three areas, each with its own subsets of diagnosis. This guide to heart failure has more info on the following. The three types of heart attacks are:

ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI)

This type of heart attack occurs when a blockage or clot causes the blood supply to the heart muscle to become blocked off. This can happen with either STEMI or NSTEMI, but with very different consequences.

Non-ST Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction (NSTEMI)

This is the same as STEMI, only with a partial blockage. Of course, the advantage is that a partial blockage has a greater success rate of survival. Still, there are birth injuries to the body as a result of trauma.

Unstable Angina (Coronary Spasm)

This type of heart attack occurs when there is a sudden interruption in the blood flow to the heart not caused by a blockage. These can encompass several factors.

For example, causation by blood loss in other areas due to an accident or neurological seizures is possible. This causes the arteries to seize up short-term with the same effects as a STEMI heart attack.

The Difference Between a Stroke and a Heart Attack is The Organs

The visual difference between a stroke and a heart attack is the vascular anatomy itself. A stroke occurs as a result of interruption, specifically inflow to the brain.

But, a heart attack occurs due to plaque build-up on one or more arteries. This blockage prevents blood from reaching an area of the heart that needs oxygenated blood for its proper functioning and metabolism.

For more simplified medical info that could save your life, bookmark our blog and keep up to date!

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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