Posted by: Chelsea Hampton | June 22, 2012

Understanding and Preventing Stroke – Basic Definition & Symptoms

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke is a leading cause of death in the U.S. and affects someone every 40 seconds. Incidence of stroke does not discriminate, as it affects men and women across all age groups and ethnicities. Furthermore, the risk of stroke may vary among populations; African Americans and Hispanic Americans are at an increased risk, and older men (65+) are at a higher risk than women. It is important to understand that a myriad of factors can influence one’s risk of having a stroke, and these factors vary among age, gender, race/ ethnicity, lifestyle factors, health conditions, and more.

So, what exactly is a stroke?

A stroke affects the brain and there are two primary types. An ischemic stroke is the most common and occurs when a blood clot forms and blocks the supply of blood in part of the brain. Plaque within the vessel walls can also cause a blockage. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel bursts. Transient ischemic attacks (TIA’s) may be equally common and highlight the importance of knowing the warning signs of stroke. A TIA is a warning sign or “mini stroke” during which some of the signs of stroke may be evident, but it does not result in permanent damage. Seeking medical care for a TIA can help prevent stroke in the future and can help to identify underlying medical conditions.  

  • Signs & Symptoms of Stroke – There are many possible signals of a stroke, but some of the more common signs include:

–          Sudden weakness or numbness in facial muscles, arm and/or leg

–          Difficulty walking, sudden dizziness and/or loss of coordination

–          Sudden confusion and difficulty with speech or comprehension

–          Sudden vision impairment

–          Sudden, severe headache

 

Information obtained and adapted from the following sources:

– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Stroke Prevention.  http://www.cdc.gov/Stroke/prevention.htm

– National Institutes of Health: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: Brain Basics: Preventing Stroke. 

  http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/stroke/preventing_stroke.htm#Warning%20Signs

This information is provided courtesy of the Wyoming AgrAbility Project. For more information, visit our website or call toll-free at 866-395-4986.

 

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