Each year, 795,000 people in the United States suffer from a stroke. Currently, strokes are the 5th leading cause of death in the U.S. So, being aware of the symptoms and signs of a stroke is essential. Here we go over the types, effects, and symptoms of strokes, and what to do if you, or someone near you ever experiences a stroke.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when blood flow to part of the brain is blocked. The brain then stops receiving oxygen, causing the brain cells to die. This causes damage to the brain, which can result in:
- Paralysis on either the left or right side of the body
- Vision issues
- Memory loss
- Speech/language issues
- Either quick or slow behavioral styles
Not everyone who has a stroke will experience the same effects. Effects can vary from temporary to lifelong problems, depending on the severity of the stroke, where in the brain it occurred, and how long it went untreated.
There are three different types of stroke:
Ischemic Strokes, the most common type, are caused by fatty clots that block blood vessels in the brain.
Hemorrhagic Strokes, which are caused by bursting or weak blood vessels. The blood then leaks into the brain, killing brain cells.
Transient Ischemic Attacks or TIA, are caused by a temporary blockage in the blood vessels that passes after a few minutes. It is also known as a ‘mini-stroke’.
According to the National Stroke Association, signs of a stroke include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
If ever you or someone near you seems to be suffering from these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately. The longer someone suffering from a stroke goes untreated, the more damage will occur to their brain.
But, who is at risk? People over the age of 55, women, and African-Americans all have higher risks of experiencing a stroke. People who have experienced heart attacks, TIAs, or a stroke, are more likely to experience a stroke. Other factors include health issues, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, artery disease, heart disease, sickle cell disease, and obesity, and lifestyle factors, such as smoking, poor diet, and little to no physical activity.
Source: National Stroke Association