What is a Stroke ?

A stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. A stroke is also known as a CVA (Cerebral Vascular Accident). This is caused by a lack of oxygen to a part of the brain resulting in a loss of brain function. The signs and symptoms of a Stroke are the same as a TIA, (but the symptoms for a TIA last for a shorter time period of time and then disappear). These signs and symptoms include (but are not limited too) Sudden weakness, paralysis or numbness on one side of the body, changes in vision, difficulty speaking, loss of coordination, balance or dizziness, memory problems or confusion or sudden severe headache, facial pain, vomiting or altered consciousness.

Risk factors for a stroke (also noted under the TIA blog) include things you cannot change : 1. Advanced aging 2. Family history 3. Race (blacks have a higher risk) 4. Gender (men are at higher risk) 5. History of a prior Stroke. But, there are things that can be changed and/or controlled including 1. High blood pressure 2. Obesity 3. Diabetes 4. Physical Inactivity 5. Elevated blood cholesterol 6. Smoking 7. Oral contraceptives 8. Abusing Alcohol consumption .

A Stroke can be caused by a blood clot blocking the oxygen flow to a part of the brain (called an Ischemic stroke) or it can be caused by rupture of a blood vessel which prevents blood flow to areas of the brain (called a Hemorrhagic stroke).

If you are having signs or symptoms of a stroke, seek medical attention immediately. There is medication that MAY be given within the first few hours of stroke. Do not delay in seeking medication attention.