Stroke occurs when blood flow is disrupted to the brain due to a clot or rupture of the blood vessel. When this happens, the brain cells begin to die. It must be noted that brain cells begin to die within minutes after a stroke. When there is brief disruption in blood supply, it is termed TIA (transient ischemic attack) or mini stroke.
The two types of stroke are ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke. In ischemic stroke, there is very little or no supply of blood to the brain whereas in hemorrhagic stroke,there will be significant loss of blood which further leads to ischemia to other parts in the brain. Ischemic stroke is more common and accounts for 83 percent of cases, but fatality rate is more in case of hemorrhagic stroke.
Ischemic stroke can be of two types: Thrombotic and Embolic. Thrombotic stroke is due to clot formed in an artery that supplies blood to the brain. Embolic stroke is due to a blood clot that has formed elsewhere, most often in the heart that gets lodged in the artery in the brain or artery carrying blood to the brain. Atrial fibrillation is a risk factor for embolic stroke.
Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. Uncontrolled blood pressure, aneurysms, genetic disorders such as arteriovenous malformation, head injury, can all cause hemorrhagic stroke.
Heart attack is a condition where the blood and oxygen supply is disrupted to the heart due to narrowing of the arteries or because of a blood clot in the artery. This condition is a medical emergency and if not treated quickly, this disruption can damage the heart muscles leading to death of the cells in the heart.
The symptoms of stroke and heart attack will enable one to understand the difference between a stroke and heart attack.
Although the symptoms of heart attack and stroke are different, the risk factors are similar. Stress, smoking, uncontrolled blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, lack of exercise are some of the risk factors common to heart attack and stroke.
In conclusion, any doubts that you may be experiencing stroke or heart attack, rushing to the hospital is the best solution as addressing either of these issues immediately tends to minimize the damage caused by them as well as prevent death.