Cardiovascular diseases consistently occupy one of the first places in terms of prevalence among the population. Moreover, every year they affect an increasing number of young and middle-aged people, which is due to a decrease in the quality of modern life. The most dangerous are pathologies that affect the vessels of the brain, since they lead to irreversible consequences. The differences between a stroke and a heart attack lie in the mechanisms of the appearance and further spread of pathology.
Description of concepts
To understand the difference between a stroke and a heart attack, you need to understand the characteristics of these concepts.
A heart attack is a disease of an internal organ, characterized by blockage of blood vessels by blood clots or due to critical narrowing of their walls. As a result, tissues receive less oxygen and nutrients and begin to die off, the organ ceases to function, which leads to malfunctions of the whole organism.
Note! A heart attack can affect the heart muscle (myocardium), brain, liver, intestines or other organ and be of general or local orientation.
Stroke is usually called an acute circulatory disorder in certain organs due to the development of vascular thrombosis or rupture of their walls. In the first case, ischemic stroke is diagnosed, in the second – hemorrhagic. Pathology most often affects the tissues of the brain, leading to dysfunctions of its functions and, as a result, malfunctions of the whole organism or individual parts of the body. In some cases, myocardial stroke is diagnosed.
Ischemic stroke, leading to the appearance of necrotic areas, is, in fact, a cerebral infarction. In some cases, disturbances in brain activity can be eliminated by transferring some of the functions of dead cells to neighboring areas using rehabilitation procedures.
Causes of appearance
Stroke and heart attack have many similar causes. In both cases, an acute disturbance in the functioning of the cardiovascular system is preceded by such chronic pathologies as atherosclerosis and hypertension. If you do not start their timely treatment, the risk of blockage of blood vessels or rupture of their walls due to loss of elasticity increases several times.
The provoking factors in these cases are:
- Hereditary predisposition. In the presence of problems with the heart and blood vessels in close relatives, there is a high probability of their occurrence in subsequent generations.
- Bad habits. Passion for smoking, alcohol leads to regular poisoning of the body with toxins. And non-observance of the rules of a balanced diet leads to the development of obesity. As a result of a significant increase in the load on the vessels, their walls become thinner, which become fragile and less elastic.
- External factors. Toxic substances circulating in the air of large and industrial cities have an extremely harmful effect on the human body.
- Stressful situations. Regular loosening of the nervous system, aggravated by a sedentary lifestyle, also negatively affects the state of the cardiovascular system.
The main symptomatic differences
The vast majority of cases of these cardiovascular pathologies are recorded in elderly people, so many do not see a significant difference between them. In addition, the concepts of heart attack and stroke are often confused due to the similarity of characteristic symptoms, sites of localization and complications that arise as a result of the development of disorders.
Common symptoms of brain pathologies are:
- sharp headache
- dizziness and loss of orientation in space,
- the appearance of flies in front of the eyes with simultaneous tinnitus,
- dry mouth
- nausea accompanied by vomiting,
- tremors and cramps
- speech disorders,
- pronounced asymmetry on one side of the body.
Important! A stroke caused by bleeding into the cerebral cavity, in most cases, leads to fainting and coma in the first hours after the rupture of blood vessels. With a heart attack, a person can be conscious for a long time.
Timely first aid is the key to successful treatment and recovery. If brain cells do not receive nutrition in the first hours after a heart attack, they begin to die off. In the case of cerebral hemorrhage, the situation is worse, since destructive processes are triggered immediately after the rupture of blood vessels. In most cases, such a stroke is fatal, less often – to life-long disability.
The first thing to do to loved ones during an attack is to call an ambulance. While the team of doctors is traveling, you can try to alleviate the patient’s condition. To do this, he should be put to bed, raising the headboard and opening the window for air access. If a person is conscious, it is necessary to monitor his well-being and provide emotional support.
Differences between heart attack and cerebral stroke also lie in the methods of treatment. Its conduct begins after first aid in the hospital and an accurate diagnosis.
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Heart attack treatment
Treatment of cerebral infarction begins with the administration of thrombolytics to the patient. Their action is aimed at dissolving the thrombus that clogged the vessel, and restoring blood circulation in the affected organ. With timely assistance, the patient becomes much better almost immediately.
Important! If, for one reason or another, the use of thrombolytic drugs was not carried out in the first 3 hours after an attack, irreversible damage develops in the tissues.
Subsequent treatment consists of taking medications:
- stabilizing pressure,
- anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents to prevent blood clots,
- improving cerebral blood supply.
As additional funds, vitamin and mineral supplements are used with the mandatory inclusion of B vitamins.
Surgical treatment is prescribed strictly according to indications. It is used when it is necessary to mechanically remove a blood clot that does not dissolve medically.
Treatment of stroke
A stroke is much more dangerous than a cerebral infarction, because after a hemorrhage, it takes hours to save a person’s life. An important role is played by the timely provision of assistance, which consists of the introduction of the following groups of drugs:
- To stabilize blood pressure – Clonidine, Captopril.
- To relieve psychomotor agitation – Relanium, Sibazon, Flunitrazepam.
- To prevent vomiting – Raglan, Cerucal.
- To eliminate headaches – Analgin, Ketonal, Tramal.
Further treatment is carried out in the intensive care unit or in neurosurgery, depending on the severity of the patient’s condition. To save the patient’s life and restore the main processes, a surgical operation or conservative treatment is prescribed.
Surgical intervention is indicated when it is necessary to remove a hematoma that interferes with blood circulation, as well as for local elimination of hemorrhage by aspiration or fibrinolysis. Conservative therapy is carried out in several directions: maintaining pressure, stabilizing the heart rate, improving the pumping function of the heart, eliminating cerebral edema and preventing the development of complications.
According to statistics, most cases of both pathologies end in death, so it is impossible to say which one is worse. But even with timely treatment, attacks of heart attack and stroke lead to serious consequences.
Specific complications are listed in the table.
Heart attack Stroke Cerebral edema Dysfunction or death of a part of the brain Thromboembolism of the pulmonary artery Pneumonia Congestive pneumonia Prolonged coma Acute heart failure Pain symptom in one of the halves of the body Formation of pressure ulcers on the skin Loss of sensitivity in certain parts of the body
Complications that can develop as a result of strokes or heart attacks are represented by impaired coordination of movements and speech, memory and mental disorders, mental impairment, and epileptic seizures.
In order for the patient to return to normal life as soon as possible and more successfully, special restorative measures are prescribed. They include exercise therapy, physiotherapy, classes with a speech therapist and psychologist, as well as diet and medication.
Despite the fact that there are enough differences between a stroke and a heart attack, they also have a lot in common. If you suspect a serious vascular pathology, you should immediately seek medical help. To establish an accurate diagnosis for the subsequent implementation of adequate treatment is possible only with the help of differential diagnosis.
BRAIN STROKE Stroke: symptoms and early signs. Hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke – what are the differences? The cause of the stroke. Brain stroke.