If you spotted someone in distress, would you be able to identify stroke versus heart attack symptoms?
Most people feel that they could readily identify heart attack symptoms, however, as we discussed several months ago, women’s heart attack symptoms can be more subtle than men’s symptoms, but nonetheless very serious. When we think about a stroke, those symptoms may also be very subtle. In fact, many stroke victims suffer several mini strokes that go unnoticed until a critical and life-threatening stroke occurs. As your heart doctors, we put together a handy list of stroke versus heart attack symptoms.
Stroke versus Heart Attack Symptoms
Both heart attack and stroke symptoms can occur very quickly. And, both do have some common symptoms, but also some unique ones that are key when spotting the difference between the two. Also, the symptoms of both a stroke and heart attack can vary depending on age, overall health, gender, and severity of the episode.
Heart Attack Symptoms
In general, heart attack symptoms include one or more of the following:
- Pain or pressure in the chest, back, jaw or neck, or one or both arms
- Pain in the upper abdomen
- Cold sweat
Women Specific Heart Attack Symptoms
Again, some of these heart attack symptoms can be subtle. For women, only half reported traditional chest pain or pressure when they are admitted for a heart attack. Women are much more likely to show heart attack symptoms of:
- Neck pain
- Heartburn that feels like fullness or a choking feeling
- Problems breathing
- Extreme tiredness and fatigue
- Irregular or rapid heartbeats
Unlike a heart attack, strokes affect the brain and are usually due to blood clots that inhibit blood flow to the brain. Also, they can be caused by a blood vessel rupture inside the brain, usually because of high blood pressure. This is called a hemorrhagic stroke.
A common symptom of a stroke, like a heart attack, is dizziness. But since strokes impact the brain, you will want to look for more physical movement and neurological difficulties. Common stroke symptoms include:
- Tingling or numbness on one side of the body
- Facial drooping or crooked smile
- Difficulty speaking or understanding what others as saying
- Sudden and severe headache
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Difficulty seeing out of one or both eyes
How to Use this Information
Being able to identify stroke versus heart attack symptoms can greatly help if you suspect someone (or yourself) is in distress. Swift and quick emergency action should be taken if you suspect these symptoms and you should call 911. To help prevent heart attacks or strokes, continue to eat healthy, exercise, limit alcohol, and do not smoke. Fortunately, we have classes that can help you, including healthy cooking demonstrations and a variety of fun exercise programs. Take a look at our classes and sign up today.