Stroke is the third leading cause of death and primary cause of long-term disability in the United States.
A stroke, or "brain attack," occurs when a brain artery ruptures or becomes blocked, cutting off vital supplies of blood and oxygen. Brain cells deprived of oxygen can die within minutes, resulting in a loss of physical and mental functions, such as speech, sight, sense of touch and thought processing. Damage often is permanent, as the body does not replace brain cells.
It is imperative that patients seek immediate medical treatment at the first sign of stroke by calling 911. Time is brain; for every minute the brain is deprived of oxygen, approximately 1.9 million brain cells die.1
There are many risk factors for stroke. Some treatable or controllable risk factors include high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity and heavy alcohol use. Although strokes occur in all age groups, in both sexes and in all races, some groups are at greater risks, particularly:
3 Impact of Stroke, American Stroke Association
4 Learn to recognize a stroke
5 Sources: Stroke Risk Factors, American Heart Association
6 What are the types of stroke? American Stroke Association