Strokes, or brain attacks, are a major cause of death and permanent disability. They occur when blood flow to a region of the brain is obstructed and may result in death of brain tissue.
There are two main types of stroke:ischemicandhemorrhagic.Ischemic strokeis caused by blockage in an artery that supplies blood to the brain, resulting in a deficiency in blood flow (ischemia).Hemorrhagic strokeis caused by the bleeding of ruptured blood vessels (hemorrhage) in the brain.
During ischemic stroke, diminished blood flow initiates a series of events (calledischemic cascade) that may result in additional, delayed damage to brain cells. Early medicalinterventioncan halt this process and reduce the risk for irreversiblecomplications.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the United States. Approximately 600,000 strokes, or brain attacks, occur in the United States each year and of these, approximately 150,000 (25%) are fatal. The incidence of stroke is higher in African Americans than Caucasians.
The American Stroke Association has identified several warning signs of a stroke, orbrain attack.Remember that someone having a stroke may not experience all of the warning signs and that warning signs can come and go. Anyone having these symptoms should seek prompt medical attention. The sooner treatment begins, the more effective it is.
Warning signs of a stroke include the following:
Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
Sudden confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding
Sudden difficulty seeing in one or both eyes
Sudden difficulty walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
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