Difference Between Heart Attack And Stroke

Posted On Dec 24, 2019

Department of Cardiology

Manipal Hospitals

Heart attack and Stroke are both possibly fatal and lead to death. Both of these two events appear suddenly without any prior warnings. These two are completely different from each other, but the difference between heart attack and stroke is not clear to many people due to the striking similarities between them. Here are the differences between heart attack and stroke based on their causes and symptoms.


Heart attack generally occurs due to the inadequate supply of oxygenated blood to the heart. The condition arises due to clots or formation of cholesterol plaque in the coronary arteries carrying blood to the heart. Without an adequate supply of the oxygenated blood, the heart muscles start to degenerate due to the deficiency of oxygen thereby causing a sudden heart attack.

However, a stroke is a sudden brain attack that occurs due to the inadequate supply of blood or oxygen to the brain. A stroke generally occurs due to the rupture or clogging of the artery carrying blood to the brain. The carotid arteries are responsible for carrying the blood to the brain and the building up of plaque or clot in it causes the stroke. This type of stroke is medically termed as ischemic stroke. In the case of rupturing of the carotid artery, the supply of the blood to the brain becomes inadequate and the stroke thereby caused due to this condition is known as hemorrhaging stroke.

Thus, it can be seen that both of these events occur due to the inadequate supply of oxygenated blood, the only difference being that deficiency of oxygenated blood in the heart causes heart attacks whereas the inadequate supply of blood to the brain causes strokes.


The symptoms of heart attack and stroke naturally vary with the age, gender, health condition and severity of the attack in the patients. Although there are a few similarities between the symptoms, they are mostly different:

Symptoms of Heart Attack:

  • Euphoria
  • Severe aching in the upper abdomen
  • Spasms in the chest, back, arms, jaw or neck
  • Cold sweat
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

Symptoms of Stroke:

  • Euphoria
  • Numbness or paralysis of the one side of the body, paralysis of certain body parts and sometimes total paralysis in severe cases.
  • Paralysis of facial muscles thus causing drooping of one side of the face, crooked smile etc
  • Difficulties in speaking due to the damage of the vocal cord caused due to the sudden shock caused due to the stroke
  • Severe headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of coordination and balance
  • Confusion


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