Heart Attack & Stroke - How are they different?
A heart attack and a
stroke are both serious medical conditions that require immediate medical
intervention. Both these conditions occur all of a sudden and may lead to fatal
life conditions, including death. Therefore, being well aware of the two
conditions is essential to ensure proper treatment at the earliest.
Both stroke and heart
attack occur as a result of inadequate oxygenated blood flow leading to damage
and death of the cells of the affected organs. Although the process of
treatment for these conditions differs, providing medical attention as soon as
possible is key to survival, recovery, or avoiding permanent damage to the
What is a Stroke?
It is more commonly
referred to as a "brain stroke". As the name suggests, a stroke is a
serious medical condition caused by obstruction of blood flow to the brain. It
can be a result of blockage or lacerations of the blood vessels of the brain.
The lack of oxygen can lead to damage and eventual death of the brain
There can be two types
of strokes in patients:
stroke which occurs as a result of blockage within a blood vessel
stroke occurs due to bleeding from the blood vessels inside the brain.
Symptoms of Stroke
The symptoms of a
stroke happen suddenly and may include:
or weakness of the face and limbs, usually on either side of the body
difficulty in seeing (unclear vision) in one or both eyes
in walking, coordinating
dizzy or losing balance
A patient who has
suffered from a stroke can experience some side effects, including-
on either side of the body
and cognitive issues
Causes of Stroke
The causes of a stroke
are various, and there are major factors that increase the risk of a stroke.
Ischemic stroke can
occur as a result of the following-
of the heart
of alcohol and/or drugs
history of heart disease or strokes
Hemorrhagic stroke can
be caused due to three reasons:
which occurs due to the "ballooning" of a blood vessel in the
brain, which ruptures & lead to blood collected in brain.
malformation of the brain.
stroke can also be a result of a blow or trauma to the brain.
Treatment of Stroke
Initial treatment of
ischemic stroke includes administration of tissue plasminogen activator within
the first few hours. Comprehensive testing via computerized tomography (CT) is
essential to determine the course of treatment which may include further
administration of medicines or surgical/endovascular procedures.
What is a Heart
A heart attack occurs
due to obstruction in the flow of blood to the heart. It can happen as a result
of the accumulation of plaque within the blood vessels. It is also called Myocardial
Infarction. When the heart muscles are not getting enough oxygen, they
start to get damaged and eventually die.
Symptoms of Heart
The primary symptoms
of a heart attack include chest pain or feeling of discomfort in the chest
along with pain in the left arm.
symptoms of a heart attack are:
in the jaw, neck, shoulders, back, arms
with no cause
A heart attack can
lead to severe stress on the body. There can be lifelong consequences and
increases the risk of:
(abnormal beating of the heart)
Cardiac Arrest (when the heart stops working)
Heart attack is mostly
caused by coronary artery diseases and is a leading cause of death among heart
patients worldwide. Medical conditions that can lead to heart attacks include:
or high blood pressure
high blood sugar
Lifestyle habits that
can cause heart attacks-
or illegal drug abuse
of food rich in fat, salt, and sugar
of physical exercise
age and a family history of heart conditions are additional causes that
can lead to heart attacks.
Treatment of Heart
Diagnosis is done by
ECG and by performing a Coronary Angiogram that will determine the course of
treatment. The treatment procedures include:
of clot-dissolving drugs
invasive heart surgery
Heart attack and
stroke are both life-threatening medical conditions that can lead to death if
not treated within time. Although genetic influence and age-related causes
cannot be avoided, other risk factors can be addressed by following a healthy
diet accompanied by healthy lifestyle choices, including exercising regularly,
managing existing medical conditions effectively, such as diabetes, and
refraining from smoking and drinking.
If you suspect someone
is having a stroke or a heart attack, you should seek medical help immediately
to avoid long-term consequences.
Dr. Krishna Hari Sharma
MS (Gen. Surgery), M.Ch
(Neuro Surgery) SGPGI Lucknow
Neurosurgeon & Spine
Metro MAS Hospital, Jaipur, Rajasthan
Dr. Rishabh Mathur
DNB - Cardiology
Metro MAS Hospital, Jaipur, Rajasthan