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What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel bringing blood and oxygen to the brain gets blocked or ruptures. When this happens, brain cells don't get the blood that they need. Deprived of oxygen, nerve cells stop working and die within minutes. Then, the part of the body they control cannot function either.

How do you recognize a stroke?

Getting to the hospital for emergency services is the most important thing. Early recognition and prompt arrival at the nearest Emergency Department enables the physicians to provide life saving treatments and/or medications if appropriate. Don't ignore these warning signs, even if they go away. A quick and easy way to spot a stroke and to educate the public is by using the acronym BE FAST:

What types of strokes are there?

Ischemic Stroke occurs when blood vessels to the brain become narrowed or clogged with fatty deposits called plaque, cutting off blood flow to brain cells. High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for ischemic stroke that you can change.

Hemorrhagic Stroke happens when a blood vessel ruptures in or near the brain, and blood collects in the brain tissue. This is toxic for the brain tissue and will cause the cells in that area to weaken and die.

How is stroke diagnosed?

The most important factor is to get someone experiencing stroke symptoms to the hospital as soon as possible. Diagnosis can involve various factors including review of medical history, physical and neurological examination, laboratory blood tests, CT or MRI scan or other diagnostic tests.

How are strokes treated?

Acute treatment is the immediate treatment given by a healthcare team when a stroke happens and can include clot bursting drugs, blood pressure medication and other drugs to treat brain swelling that sometimes occurs after stroke. The goal of acute treatment is to keep the amount of brain injury as small as possible. Depending on the type and severity of the stroke surgery may be required.

Are the effects of stroke permanent?

The effects of stroke may be permanent, depending on how many cells are lost, where they are in the brain, and other factors. Timing is important so dial 911 as soon as symptoms appear.

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    More Information

    Think FAST Rap Version

    Performed by Nurse Master Charlie, RN. This is a throwback rap covers the different types of strokes and the signs and symptoms of strokes.

    Stroke Survivor Story

      Family Tree (Track Medical History)