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Critical Facts About Stroke

Stroke is a blockage of a blood vessel that supplies the brain. Stroke is the third leading cause of death, behind only heart disease and cancer. Each year in the United States 730,000 people suffer a stroke and each year approximately 150,000 of those stroke sufferers die.

There is still, unfortunately, a great deal of misunderstanding about the causes and risks for stroke by the American public. For example, a lot of people believe that stroke only strikes elderly people. In reality, a stroke can strike anybody, at any age. Many people also think that stroke occurs in the heart. Actually, stroke occurs in the brain.

These critical facts are important to know about stroke. Firstly, there are two main types of stroke. Ischemic strokes are caused by the blockage of an artery supplying the brain and make up 85 percent of stroke victims. The brain tissue beyond the blockage dies from the lack of supply of nutrients, oxygen and glucose. The other 15 percent of strokes are the result of ruptured blood vessels that bleed into the brain and are called hemorrhagic strokes.

Some risk factors that can cause stroke are being elderly, people who are older tend to be more likely candidates for stroke, but there are other risk factors that greatly increase your chance of having a stroke. The most important factor for stroke is high blood pressure. Blood pressure medication substantially reduces your stroke risk. The other important risk factors for stroke are diabetes (which is very common and tends to effect people when they are older), obesity, and cigarette smoking.

What’s unfortunate about strokes is that they often don’t offer us many warning signs when they’re happening. The most important warning signs to recognize are weakness or numbness, loss of feeling on one side of the body, loss of balance, inability to walk, slurred speech, headache, and loss of vision, which might be in one eye or off to one side of your visual field. Those are the most important signs of having a stroke.

Modern medicine has allowed for effective treatments for stroke, but they only work within the first few hours of having a stroke. The first three hours after the stroke are golden treatment hours, after which most of the damage has been done. When a stroke patient comes to the hospital, they are treated with extreme urgency for this reason.

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