Spotting the Difference: Stroke vs. Heart Attack

Spotting the Difference: Stroke vs. Heart Attack

Stroke is related to the brain whereas heart attack is related to the heart. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle is severely reduced or stopped. The reduction or stoppage happens when one or more arteries supplying blood to the heart are blocked. It is usually caused by the deposition of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on the walls of arteries. This deposition is called plaque. Eventually, the plaque may rupture, rip, or burst, forming a “snag” where a blood clot forms and obstructs the artery. This leads to a heart attack.

On the other hand, a stroke happens when a blood vessel in the brain bursts or when the blood supply to a portion of the brain is cut off, damaging a portion of the brain. It might cause an unexpected death. Even those who survive a stroke may never fully recover from it. Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability. Knowing the early symptoms and reporting them to a doctor is very important to reduce the risk of complications and increase the probability of survival.

What Are the Symptoms of Stroke?

When someone is experiencing a stroke, every second matters. To minimise the risk of brain damage, medical attention must be given when you observe the following signs of a stroke:

  1. Your face or limbs feeling numb or weak, especially on one side of the body
  2. You feel confused and have difficulty communicating 
  3. Have vision problems or blurriness in one or both eyes
  4. Trouble walking, or issues with balance
  5. A prompt and intense headache

When you suspect someone is having a stroke, keep in mind the acronym F.A.S.T. and begin observing the following bodily part movements right away:

Face: Smiling from one side of the face.

Arms: When both arms are raised, one arm falls down.

Speech: The speech is hazy or slurred when repeating a straightforward sentence.

Time: Get medical assistance as soon as possible by calling 108.

What Are the Symptoms of a Heart Attack?

While some heart attacks begin gradually and cause only slight pain or discomfort, others might be severe. Call for medical help if your observe any of the following symptoms of heart attack:

  1. Chest pain in the middle that lasts more than a few minutes or that sometimes goes away before coming back. It may feel painful, full, squeezing, or under pressure.
  2. Discomfort in upper body parts such as arms (one or both), back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  3. Breathlessness that may occur with or without pain in the chest.
  4. Lightheadedness
  5. Nausea or chills

What Preventive Measures to Follow for Stroke and Heart Attack?

  • Eat foods low in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol and high in fiber to prevent high cholesterol. 
  • Limit excessive salt in your diet to lower your blood pressure. High cholesterol and high blood pressure increase the risk of stroke.
  • Keep a healthy weight
  • Avoid smoke and alcohol
  • Monitior your blood pressure
  • Manage diabetes
  • If you have heart conditions, such as coronary artery disease, take your medications on time.
  • Be physically active.

What Are the Best Medications to Prevent Stroke and Heart Attack?

Here is the list of best medications to prevent stroke and heart attack:

  • TPA (tissue plasminogen activator: This medication dissolves blood clots that block blood flow to the heart or brain, treating ischemic strokes and heart attacks. The commonly used tPA for stroke is Alteplase.
  • Antiplatelet agents: These medicines prevent blood clots from forming, lowering the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Aspirin, Clopidogrel, Dipyridamole, Prasugrel and Ticagrelor are the commonly prescribed antiplatelet medicines for stroke and heart attack.
  • Anticoagulants: Anticoagulants help prevent or treat cloting disorders like atrial fibrillation, pulmonary embolism, and deep vein thrombosis by preventing blood clot formation. Apixaban, Dabigatran, Edoxaban, Heparin, Rivaroxaban, and Warfarin are the commonly prescribed anticoagulant medicines for stroke and heart attack.
  • Antihypertensives: These medicines are used to control blood pressure and lower the chance of heart attacks and strokes, among other cardiovascular problems. Benazepril, Captopril, Enalapril, and Fosinopril are the commonly prescribed antihypertensive medicines for stroke and heart attack. Other medications to lower blood pressure include Telmisartan, Losartan, Atenolol, Metoprolol, and Propranolol.
  • Diuretics: Diuretics limit the amount of blood that circulates through blood vessels, hence lowering blood pressure and reducing fluid retention. Acetazolamide Amiloride Bumetanide, Chlorothiazide, Chlorthalidone, and Furosemide are the commonly prescribed diuretics for stroke and heart attack.
  • Vasodilators: Vasodilators enhance blood flow to the heart and other organs and help reduce blood pressure by relaxing and widening blood vessels. Isosorbide dinitrate,  Isosorbide mononitrate, Hydralazine, Nitroglycerin, and Minoxidil are the commonly prescribed vasodilators for stroke and heart attack.
  • Cholesterol lowering medications: These medicines lower blood cholesterol levels, to prevent the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Atorvastatin, Fluvastatin, Lovastatin, Pitavastatin, Pravastatin, Rosuvastatin are the commonly prescribed cholesterol lowering medications for stroke and heart attack.


You can order these medications online by using an online medicines app. Your doorstep will receive your medication in a timely and hassle-free manner when you order it online.  You can cut down significantly on the cost of your heart and stroke medications if you shop from pharmacy online using apps like Truemeds that provide generic substitutes.

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