A heart attack is a result of a blockage in the blood flow to the coronary artery, which is a part of the heart. The blockage usually occurs in the form of blood clots. The coronary artery will die if the blood flow is completely cut off and thus the heart muscle will be deprived of oxygen, thus causing a heart attack.
When cholesterol and other substances begin to build up in the heart’s blood vessels, they form a fatty substance which is known as a plaque. The plaque affects the lining of blood vessels by breaching or wearing it away, causing a blood clot to form and this then limits and hinders the flow of blood to the heart. Blood blockage causes a heart attack and scar tissue may develop. The intensity of the scar tissue can harm the heart and result in the heart being unable to pump blood due to heart failure.
On the other hand, a stroke is a brain attack. A stroke occurs when there has been a disruption to the blood flow towards the brain. The brain tissue will then have insufficient oxygen and vital nutrients because blood vessels have been burst or blocked. This type of stroke is the most common one and is known as the ischaemic stroke. There is also another kind of stroke which is known as the hemorrhagic stroke and this is a result of bleeding in and around the brain.
A heart attack and a stroke have the same risk factors that include high blood pressure, hereditary, diabetes, an abnormal heart rhythm and also high cholesterol. The treatment of both a heart attack and a stroke involves releasing the blockage and ensure the flow of blood without any interruptions. A method of bursting the clots is usually used to treat these two conditions. Coronary artery bypass grafting can also be used as a method of treatment whereas a blood vessel is taken from somewhere else in the body and attached to the blocked one.
However, the symptoms of these two conditions differ. One can detect if they are affected by a heart attack or a stroke through the following signs:
- Short breath
- Pain on the upper body
- Pain in the chest, neck, arms or jaw
- Releasing cold sweat
The signs and symptoms of a stroke are:
- Dizziness (can also be a sign of heart attacks)
- Numbness on just one side of the body
- Numbness on the face
- Severe headaches
- Inability to balance and coordinate