PATIENT EDUCATION SERIES: Stroke (brain attack)

November 2005 
Volume 35  Number 11
Pages 49 - 49
  PDF Version Available!


Clinical Editor, Nursing2005 What is a stroke?

A stroke (also called a brain attack) occurs when a clot or a torn blood vessel in the brain stops blood from reaching a part of the brain. Damage to that part of the brain from lack of blood and oxygen can cause various signs and symptoms of stroke, such as facial drooping, numbness, and paralysis.

Although anyone can have a stroke, your risk increases if you're male, over age 65, or have one of these conditions: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, or diabetes. Being overweight, smoking, abusing drugs or alcohol, and taking birth control pills increase risk too. African-Americans, people who are Hispanic or Asian, and those with a close relative who's had a stroke are also at higher risk.

How do I know if I'm having a stroke?

Signs and symptoms, which depend on the size and location of the brain injury, usually occur suddenly and may include:

* numbness or weakness ...

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