The Signs of a Stroke vs. Heart Attack

Strokes and heart attacks are two of the most dangerous medical emergencies that occur today. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), someone in the United States suffers from a heart attack . Of course, millions more suffer from strokes every year.   It is vital to that indicate a stroke versus the signs that indicate a heart attack. If you fear that you are experiencing either of these conditions, do not delay! Call 9-1-1 immediately, or go to the closest emergency room.

The Conditions – Stroke vs. Heart Attack

stroke vs heart attack

Both strokes and heart attacks involve the loss of blood flow to a part of your body. However, the blood loss occurs at a separate location for each occurrence.

Strokes occur when is interrupted. A blood vessel that carries oxygen to the brain either bursts, or suffers blockage from a clot. If not treated in time, a stroke can lead to brain damage, permanent disability, or death.

A heart attack, or , occurs when blood to the heart is blocked. This can be the result of a sudden blood clot, or the gradual accumulation of plaque within a heart artery that eventually results in a blockage. An untreated blockage can result in part of the heart dying and being replaced with scar tissue. A heart attack may result in arrhythmia or death.

Symptoms of a Stroke vs. a Heart Attack

There are some possible similarities between the symptoms of a stroke versus those of a heart attack. At the same time, there are also major differences distinguishing the two that should be looked for in the event of an occurrence.

Stroke Signs

Signs of a stroke may include the following symptoms:

  • Numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side
  • Trouble understanding other people, or sudden confusion in communication
  • Unexplained difficulty in speaking
  • Difficulty seeing with one or both eyes
  • Problems with walking, coordination, or balance
  • Dizziness
  • The unexplained onset of a severe headache, which could include vomiting or altered consciousness

Heart Attack Signs

Signs of a heart attack may include the following symptoms:

  • Tightness, pain, pressure, aching, or a squeezing sensation in your chest or arms that may spread to your back, jaw, or neck
  • An upset stomach, or indigestion, which may include vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness

The Differences Between Signs of a Stroke and Heart Attack

heart attack signsWhile there are a few possible similarities between the symptoms of a stroke and those of a heart attack, such as dizziness or vomiting, there are significant differences between the two.

For a stroke, you can use the FAST test to check for the most common symptoms. The FAST test stands for:

  • Face: Smile in a mirror to see if one side of the face droops down.
  • Arms: Raise both arms to see if one of your arms drops.
  • Speech: Say a short phrase. Check yourself for slurred or strange speech.
  • Time: If you notice any of the above-mentioned signs, call 911 immediately and write down the time when symptoms started.

For a heart attack, not all people have the same symptoms, or the same intensity level in symptoms. For instance, one person may feel intense chest pain before or during a heart attack, while another person may have mild, or no chest pain. However, heart attack symptoms almost never include such conditions as a smile that droops down on one side, an arm that can’t stay up, or strange, slurred speech.

Take Decisive Action

Acquiring information about the similarities and differences between stroke and heart attack symptoms could one day be crucial to saving your life, or someone else’s life. Going through the signs of the FAST test is a quick but effective way to determine if you could be suffering from a stroke. Also, staying alert to the common signs of a heart attack, such as chest pains, dizziness, and shortness of breath, can help you to respond more rapidly in the event of a heart attack.

If you ever fear that you or someone you know may be experiencing either a stroke or a heart attack, , and don’t delay in taking necessary action. Call 9-1-1 immediately, or visit the nearest emergency room right away. Taking decisive action at the onset of stroke or heart attack symptoms may very well be the difference between life and death.

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