What is a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, causing damage to nearly two million brain cells every minute. "Time is brain" during a stroke, so it's important for a patient to get help as quickly as possible from medical professionals highly trained in stroke diagnosis and treatment.
There are two types of strokes:
- Hemorrhagic stroke: occurs when a blood vessel bursts in or near the brain. These strokes are sometimes caused by ruptured aneurysms or abnormal clusters of blood vessels called an arteriovenous malformation (AVM).
- Ischemic stroke: occurs when blood vessels to the brain become narrowed or blocked.
Other common signs of a stroke are sudden:
- dizziness, trouble walking, or loss of balance or coordination
- trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- severe headache with no known cause
- numbness of the face, arm, or leg
- confusion or trouble understanding others
How to Prevent a Stroke
Up to 80% of strokes are preventable through risk factor management. High blood pressure is the single most important treatable risk factor for stroke. Preventing, diagnosing, and controlling it through lifestyle changes and medicine are critical to reducing stroke risks.
There are several steps you can take to reduce your risk for stroke:
- Eat a healthy diet low in sodium with plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Be physically active
- Don't smoke, and avoid secondhand smoke
- Limit alcohol use
- Prevent or manage your other health conditions, especially high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, circulatory problems, and obesity