What is a stroke?
A stroke is a "brain attack" and occurs when blood supply to the brain is cut off. Most strokes are caused by a blood clot that has built up on the wall of a brain artery or one that has traveled there from another part of the body (an embolic stroke or ischemic stroke). Other strokes are caused by a ruptured blood vessel in or near the brain (aneurysm), which results in bleeding within or over the surface of the brain (hemorrhagic stroke). Stroke is the third leading killer and the number-one cause of disability in the United States.
What does a stroke do to the brain?
A stroke can result in weakness or paralysis of one side of the body, loss of speech or the ability to understand others, memory loss, or a combination of these factors. A stroke can be slight or severe, temporary or permanent, depending on the extent of damage to the brain. A stroke can cause death or serious injures that can be harmful to your quality of life. Possible complications include pneumonia or potentially dangerous blood clots in the legs.
Can a stroke be stopped?
There are treatments that can reduce the risk of damage from a stroke, but you must seek help quickly. Although some of the treatments available at our Stroke Center can be administered within eight hours of the first symptoms, ideally we must begin treatment within three hours of the onset of symptoms.
What are stroke symptoms?
Call 911 immediately if you experience these warning signs:
- sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
- sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding
- sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance/coordination
- sudden severe headache with no known cause
- difficulty swallowing
How can I be "Stroke Smart" and reduce my risk of a stroke?
- Have your blood pressure checked every year.
- Find out if you have atrial fibrillation, which can lead to a stroke.
- Do not smoke.
- Drink alcohol in moderation only.
- Have your cholesterol checked regularly.
- Exercise regularly.
- Enjoy a low-salt, low-fat diet.
- Ask your doctor if you have any circulation problems.
- If you have diabetes, take steps to control it.
- Seek immediate medical attention if you have any stroke symptoms.
- Undergo a screening for carotid artery stenosis.
Myths About Stroke
- Stroke is unpreventable.
- Stroke cannot be treated.
- Stroke only strikes the elderly.
- Stroke happens to the heart.
- Stroke recovery is immediate.
- Stroke is largely preventable.
- Stroke requires emergency treatment.
- Anyone can have a stroke.
- Stroke is a brain attack.
- Stroke recovery continues throughout life.