A Stroke is a cardiovascular disease that affects the blood supplyto the brain and is the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States. While4.4 million people have survived strokes or cardiovascular accidents (CVA), they stillaccount for over 150,000 deaths in the United States each year. A stroke is caused when ablood vessel to the brain bursts or becomes clogged. If the brain does not get the oxygenand nutrients it needs, the nerve cells in the area of the accident begin to die withinminutes. The parts of the body controlled by those nerve cells will no longer functionproperly and a neurological deficit will occur.

Strokes caused by blood clots are the most common and account for70-80 percent of all CVAs. A blood clot can form in the arteries or in the heart andblocks blood flow to the brain. A hemorrhage, or bleed in the brain, causes a stroke whenblood vessels in the brain burst. This can reduce blood flow to the brain or fill theskull with blood creating pressure on the surrounding brain tissue and interfering withhow the brain functions.

The warning signs of a stroke are a sudden numbness or weakness ofthe face, arm or leg usually on one side of the body. A person may have sudden confusion,trouble speaking or understanding. They may also have trouble walking, dizziness, loss ofbalance, and severe headache with no known cause or trouble seeing in one or both eyes.Not all of these signs occur in every stroke attack and sometimes the signs go away andreturn.

Ten years ago, a stroke almost always caused permanent damage.Today, new drugs and medical procedures can limit or reduce the damage caused by a stroke.The sooner the 911 emergency system is activated, the better the chance for a goodrecovery.

General Care

  • Recognize the signs of stroke and call 911
  • Comfort the victim
  • Do not give any thing to eat or drink,
  • If the victim is drooling or having trouble swallowing – place on side to help drain the fluid.

More information on strokes at the American Heart Association