HCA Midwest Health - January 08, 2018

Is it a heart attack or a stroke?

Quick breakdown

Heart attack occurs when blood supply to the heart is blocked

Stroke occurs when an artery either ruptures causing bleeding in the brain, or an artery narrows or becomes blocked leading to lack of blood flow to the brain

Facts and stats

Heart attack one in three deaths in the U.S. is caused by cardiovascular disease and 64% of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms

Stroke on average strokes, even heart attacks, occur every 40 seconds

Signs and symptoms

Heart attack

  • Shortness of breath and/or cold sweats
  • Chest pain, pressure, squeezing pain and/or tightness
  • Upper body discomfort or pain in the arms, jaw, shoulders, neck, and/or back
  • Nausea
  • Light headedness, dizziness, disorientation, and/or confusion


  • Sudden weakness or trouble seeing or speaking
  • Trouble walking, loss of balance, coordination, and/or unexplained falls
  • Paralysis or numbness of the face, arms, and/or legs, especially on only one side of the body
  • Dizziness confusion, loss of consciousness and/or sudden, severe headache

Controllable risks

Although you can't control some stroke risk factors, like heredity, age, gender, and ethnicity, here are some risk factors that can be controlled

Avoid smoking, alcohol, and unhealthy foods

Do exercise and eat fruits, vegetables, and fish

87.5 million adults have high blood pressure and 45.6% of adults with high blood pressure do not have it under control

This is not a complete set of risk factors

Immediate actions

If you think you are having a heart attack or stroke call 9-1-1 immediately

If you or a loved one is experiencing heart attack or stroke symptoms, every second matters. Calling an ambulance instead of driving to the hospital provides immediate access to treatments that can begin before a patient arrives at the hospital

Network of care at HCA Midwest Health

5 Chest Pain Centers

  • The area's largest network of award-winning accredited Chest Pain Centers
  • Your chance of surviving a heart attack at a Chest Pain Center improves by more than 35 percent

5 Stroke Care Centers

  • The region's largest network of stroke centers including a Comprehensive Stroke Center and 4 Primary Stroke Centers
  • HCA Midwest Health has been recognized for their excellence in stroke care, with our Missouri hospitals among the first to achieve state designation for Time Critical Diagnosis (TCD) for stroke

Heart Disease Risk Assessment

At HCA Midwest Health, you can be confident that our heart and stroke care teams are prepared to provide you with expert, diagnosis, treatment and management if and when you should need it. With access to the closest, most convenient, and most appropriate point of care within our extensive network, we’re never far when you need us.