Heart Attack and Stroke

What are the risks for a heart attack or stroke?

Risk factors for vascular disease include high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, being overweight, inactivity, age and family history.

What causes heart attacks and strokes?

Most heart attacks and strokes are caused by blood clots plgging an artery supplying either the heart or the brain.  Each minute that the tissue does not receive new blood, cells of the heart or brain die.  Although most strokes are caused by blood clots, some strokes may be due to bleeding from a ruptured blood vessel in the brain.

What are the signs and symptoms of a heart attack?

The signs of a heart attack are not the same for everyone, and certain individuals may have very little symptoms at all.  Chest pain, often described as pressure or squeezing sensation, in the center or left side of the chest may be present.  Symptoms may be persistent or may come and go.

People with diabetes, women, and individuals with a prior heart attack may not have the typical symptoms or little symptoms at all to suggest they are having a heart attack.

What are the signs and symptoms of a stroke?

They symptoms of a stroke are not the same for everyone.  Sudden weakness or paralysis in a part of the body, numbness, tingling, vision changes, speech or memory difficulties, or headache may be associated with a stroke.

If you have symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, immediately call 911 to be taken to an emergency room to be evaluated.

Talk to your doctor about what you can do to reduce your risk for a heart attack or stroke.