In the United States, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability; only heart disease and cancer cause more deaths annually. Every year about 750,000 Americans experience a stroke; about 160,000 of these people die.
The good news is that many fewer Americans now die of strokes than was the case 20 or 30 years ago. Improvement in the control of major risk factors - smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol - is likely responsible for the decline.
Facts about stroke
- A stroke occurs when something happens to interrupt the steady flow of blood to the brain, like a clot or a burst in a blood vessel. Brain cells quickly begin to die.
- Problems caused by a stroke may vary depending on the extent of the brain damage and where in the brain the stroke occurred. A stroke can affect personality, behavior, movement, sensation, hearing, language, vision, and thinking.
- You Can Beat a Stroke: Disabilities can be prevented or limited, but the patient must go to the emergency room immediately.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke has been called a "brain attack." This happens when blood vessels in the brain are suddenly blocked or burst. Brain cells are denied blood and oxygen and begin to die causing a wide variety of disabling symptoms and often permanent disability or death.
There are two types of stroke:
- Ischemic- happens when a clot blocks a vessel (or vessels) supplying blood to the brain. It's the most common type, accounting for 87% of all strokes. The treatment goal is to bust or remove the clot from the brain and re-establish the blood of blood and oxygen.
- Hemorrhagic - is caused by a rupture in a blood vessel within the brain. Fewer strokes happen as the result of a rupture. The treatment goal is to stop the bleeding.
There is also:
- TIA or transient ischemic attack - a “minor or mini stroke” that occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery for a short amount of time . The symptoms of a TIA can be the same as those of a stroke, but they usually last only a few minutes. The symptoms my go away and them comeback again. About 15 percent of major strokes are preceded by TIAs, so don’t ignore a TIA.