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What is a stroke

A Stroke is a medical emergency known as a Brain Attack.

Your brain cells need blood, oxygen, and nutrients to work. When blood flow is blocked you can have a stroke or a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA).

The American Stroke Association defines stroke:
“A stroke occurs when a blood vessel bringing blood and oxygen to the brain gets blocked, or ruptures so brain cells don’t get the flow of blood that they need. Deprived of oxygen, nerve cells can’t function.”

There are two main types of stroke:
An ischemic stroke happens when blood vessels in the brain become narrow or clogged cutting off the blood flow to the brain cells. This is the most common type of stroke accounting for 80% of all strokes. This type of stroke is often preceded by a TIA (transient ischemic attack) or warning sign. Ischemic strokes usually occur at night or first thing in the morning. Symptoms can be sudden or develop over a few minutes and worsen over hours.

A hemorrhagic stroke happens when a blood vessel ruptures in or near the brain. This type of stroke is associated with a very severe headache, nausea and vomiting. Usually symptoms appear suddenly and in a younger population.

Warning signs of stroke:
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg usually on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble talking or understanding what others are saying
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache

If you experience one or more of these symptoms call 911 and come directly to the hospital. Today there are treatments that can reduce the risk of damage to brain cells but only if you get help quickly. 


National STROKE Association 2013.