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Stroke 101 – What You Need to Know

Part 1

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. Each year, nearly 800,000 people will have a stroke. A stroke occurs when a blood clot prevents an artery from carrying blood from the heart to the body or when a blood vessel breaks, cutting off blood flow to the brain. When either of these events happens, cells in the brain begin to die and brain damage occurs.

The severity of the stroke and the part of the brain that is affected by the stroke will determine which abilities, including movement, speech, and memory might be lost. Someone experiencing a minor stroke may have weakness in their arm or a leg, while someone suffering a major stroke may be paralyzed on one side of their body or even lose their ability to speak.

In this three-part blog, we will examine the warning signs of a stroke, how you can prevent a stroke, and what you can expect after suffering a stroke.

Types of Stroke

Ischemic stroke occurs as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. It accounts for almost 90 percent of all stroke cases.

Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a weakened blood vessel ruptures. The most common cause of hemorrhagic stroke is uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure).

TIA (transient ischemic attack) is caused by a temporary clot. Symptoms of a TIA are the same as a stroke, but symptoms of a TIA don't last very long. Most of the time, they go away in 10 to 20 minutes. TIA’s are often called  “mini strokes”, these warning strokes should be taken very seriously.

Know the Warning Signs

If you are experiencing symptoms of a stroke or think you know someone who is having a stroke, you should call 911 immediately. With timely treatment, the risk of death and disability from stroke can be lowered. It is very important to know the symptoms of a stroke and act in time.