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The difference between heart attack and stroke

Awareness for stroke and heart disease have been increasingly promoted together as they are both vascular events, however they are different medical issues. A heart attack damages muscles in the heart from lack of blood flow, a stroke blocks blood flow to the brain.

Like stroke, a heart attack can present itself differently in women than in men. While both may experience crushing chest pain, women are more likely to not have that symptom, but may feel pressure, dizziness or extreme tiredness.

Also, it’s a myth to think that heart disease happens primarily to men, adds Dr. Richard Veenstra, a professor in Upstate’s Department of Pharmacology. In fact, since 1984, heart disease has killed more women than men, claiming the lives of one in three women. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, killing more than cancer or accidents.

Dr. Veenstra advises women not to ignore fatigue, pain—especially in the jaw, indigestion, sudden nausea and shortness of breath. He also advises that people should have their cholesterol checked as early as in their 20’s because heart disease can be present in young, healthy and fit people.

For more information on stroke, please call the Women’s Health Network at 315-464-2756 or toll free at 855-890-UWHN.