According to the CDC, heart attacks and strokes are the first and third-leading causes of death in the United States today. Together, they’re responsible for more than 33.6% of all deaths. Furthermore, they are the leading cause of disability affecting nearly four million people. Have you ever wondered if these two killers are related?
The cardiovascular system is all your blood vessels and arteries This is the structure that’s associated with heart attacks and strokes It makes both of them “vascular events,” and it's the major link between the two.
Most heart attacks and strokes have similar symptoms and effects. However, they’re two completely different types of ailments.
The medical term summarizing heart attacks is “myocardial infarctions.” They’re the result of too much plaque (fatty deposits) in your arteries, which causes blockages.
Blocked arteries (and veins) do not allow blood to flow adequately to and through the heart. When any part of it is deprived of plasma, it dies. This is what causes heart attacks.
Strokes happen because the brain is not getting a sufficient blood supply. When a blood clot causes this, it’s an “ischemic stroke.”
It’s easy to see the similarities between strokes and heart attacks because both involve not getting enough blood to another body part. The major difference between the two is the former involves your brain while the other, your heart.
Another type of stroke that’s caused by a temporary clot is often called a “mini-stroke” or “TIA.” The medical term for these is “transient ischemic attack.” They are much less debilitating because they are fleeting and short-lived.
A “hemorrhagic stroke” happens when a blood vessel in the brain suddenly bursts and bleeds. The names of these types of events depend on their origin.
The most common hemorrhagic stroke is known as an aneurysm. It happens when an ordinary blood vessel or artery within the brain balloons, weakens, then bursts.
Another occurrence for a potential stroke is when an abnormal mass of blood vessels gets tangled within the brain. It’s a rare condition called “arteriovenous malformation” (AVM). If one of the blood vessels inside the AVM bursts, it causes bleeding and compression on the brain.
Heart attacks and strokes are among the highest costing health problems facing our country. They’re also some of the most preventable. That is why it’s important to know all you can about them.