Stroke vs. Heart Attack Warning Signs: Understanding the Difference

It is one of the most terrible feelings imaginable: being in the presence of someone who is experiencing severe discomfort or pain, where the risk of a heart attack or stroke is possible.

Regardless of if you have the proper CPR training, you can still identify and diagnose warning signs; distinguishing symptoms of an imminent stroke versus a heart attack can prove invaluable to emergency care once it arrives.

A major heart attack warning sign is severe discomfort in the center of the chest. The pain may last a few minutes or recur in shorter periods. Other symptoms include discomfort in other areas of the body, shortness of breath, breaking out in a cold sweat, lightheadedness, and nausea.

Stroke warning signs, meanwhile, are less pain-oriented; rather they entail numbness or weakness in limbs, as well as mental disorientation, blurred vision, or severe headaches.

If any of these warning signs occur, contact 911 immediately.

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About the author

I spent 15 years as a firefighter and paramedic...

And too often I would arrive on the scene of someone unconscious, surrounded by a circle of people feeling helpless. Sometimes those people would even have CPR training but lacked the confidence and experience to act.

That’s why I started SureFire CPR. Our classes are practical and engaging – teaching you the crucial skills you need to know what to do and feel empowered to take action.

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Zack Zarrilli, Founder

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