What is a stroke?
On a very basic level, it’s a “brain attack.” When your heart can’t get enough blood, you have a heart attack. When your brain can’t get enough blood, you have a stroke.
The Mayo Clinic explains that there are 2 main types of stroke: ischemic (caused by a blocked artery) and hemorrhagic (caused by a burst or leaking blood vessel). Ischemic strokes are the most common, accounting for about 85% of strokes.
Every year, more than 795,000 Americans have a stroke, and about 610,000 of these people are first-time stroke patients. Strokes currently cost the United States about $36.5 billion every year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), strokes cause 1 out every 19 deaths – killing 130,000 Americans every year. One American dies from a stroke about every 4 minutes. Overall, strokes are the fourth leading cause of death for people in the U.S.
Stroke Symptoms and Warning Signs
The National Heart Lung & Blood Institute (NIH) provides a good overview of the basic signs and symptoms of a stroke. Stroke symptoms often develop rapidly, but sometimes they can accumulate over a period of hours or days. The length and type of symptoms may vary with different patients.
The warning signs and symptoms of a stroke can include:
If you believe you or someone else may be having a stroke, call 911 immediately. All stroke-like symptoms require immediate medical care. Don’t drive to the hospital on your own, or have someone else drive you. Go in the ambulance, so that the medical personnel can begin treating you right away.
(Image via the American Stroke Association.)