A stroke is a “brain attack”. It can happen to anyone at any time. Stroke awareness and prevention are the best way to minimize the risks and damage of stroke. It occurs when blood flow to an area of brain is cut off. When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory, vision, hearing and muscle control are lost.
How a person is affected by their stroke depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged. For example, someone who had a small stroke may only have minor problems such as temporary weakness of an arm or leg. People who have larger strokes may be permanently paralyzed on one side of their body or lose their ability to speak. Some people recover completely from strokes, but more than 2/3 of survivors will have some type of disability.
Stroke awareness means knowing how to recognize when someone is experiencing a stroke. Knowing the B.E.F.A.S.T. warning signs can help anyone recognized when a stroke may be happening and initiate the ‘Emergency 911 Call’. Starting emergency response is critical to minimizing brain damage when someone is experiencing a stroke.
Hemorrhagic strokes are less common, in fact only 15 percent of all strokes are hemorrhagic, but they are responsible for about 40 percent of all stroke deaths. A hemorrhagic stroke is either a brain aneurysm burst or a weakened blood vessel leak. Blood spills into or around the brain and creates swelling and pressure, damaging cells and tissue in the brain. There are two types of hemorrhagic stroke called intracerebal and subarachnoid.
Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel carrying blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot. This causes blood not to reach the brain. High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for this type of stroke. Ischemic strokes account for about 87% of all strokes. An ischemic stroke can occur in two ways. A transient ischemic attack (TIA), also called a ministroke stroke, causes symptoms similar to those of a stroke.