How does a heart attack differ from a stroke

Both of these conditions can become fatal, but they have very important differences. Here’s what you need to know about them.

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Do not self-medicate! In our articles we collect the latest scientific data and opinions of authoritative experts in the field of health. But remember: only a doctor can diagnose and prescribe treatment.

A stroke occurs as a result of a brain hemorrhage or blockage of blood flow to the brain. A heart attack occurs due to blockage of the coronary arteries in the heart. Both conditions occur suddenly and lead to a lack of oxygen-rich blood, which should provide vital functions of the brain and heart.

What is a stroke?

Strokes occur when not enough blood is supplied to the brain. This lack of blood deprives the brain of the necessary oxygen it needs to function, which leads to the death of brain cells. There are two main types of strokes:

  • Ischemic strokes occur as a result of a blockage inside a vessel in the brain. 87% of all strokes are ischemic.
  • Hemorrhagic strokes occur as a result of hemorrhage from blood vessels into the substance of the brain. It occurs as a result of rupture of blood vessels. This type is less common, accounting for about 13% of all strokes.

What is a heart attack

A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction (MI), occurs when blood flow to the heart greatly decreases or stops. This can happen due to the accumulation of plaques in the blood vessels, which leads to its narrowing. Plaques mainly consist of fat and cholesterol and occur as a result of the development of atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis can cause ischemia by limiting blood flow to the heart. In addition, if a piece of plaque breaks off from the artery wall, a blood clot may form, which can block blood flow to the heart muscle. In any case, when the heart muscle stops receiving oxygen and nutrient-rich blood, the heart cells are damaged or die.

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