What is a Stroke?

Many people don’t know that strokes are very common in the United States. Almost about 1 in 6 humans will likely have a stroke in their lifetime. A stroke is a sudden interruption in the blood supply of the brain. It is caused by an abrupt blockage of arteries leading to the brain. 

Some symptoms of a stroke are muscle weakness on one side of the body, side of the face droops or feels numb, and speech difficulties. Early action, by going to the emergency room, can reduce brain damage and other complications. 

Since a stroke is fairly common in the United States, there are a few different types of strokes. 

  1. Ischemic stroke: happens when blood flow through the artery that supplies oxygen-rich blood to the brain becomes blocked. Blood clots are used as the common cause of an ischemic stroke. 
  2. Hemorrhagic stroke: happens when an artery in the brain leaks blood or ruptures. The leaked blood puts too much pressure on brain cells, which damages them. High blood pressure and aneurysms are examples of conditions that can cause this specific stroke. 
  3. Transient ischemic attack (a warning or “mini-stroke”): this is considered a pre-stroke and it is important to get checked for this because it can lead to future strokes. 

Some things you can try to do in order to prevent yourself from having a stroke in the future are:

  1. Control high blood pressure (hypertension). Know your numbers and keep them low.
  2. Quit tobacco. Smoking raises the risk of stroke.
  3. Control diabetes
  4. Manage a healthy weight
  5. Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
  6. Exercise
  7. And more. 

Amanda Goh, Executive intern


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