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Learn About Strokes

A stroke is a condition that occurs when blood flow to part of the brain is completely blocked causing tissue to die. This condition can be diagnosed by a CT scan, an MRI and on clinical signs the patient may be exhibiting. It is critical to call 911 immediately after recognizing symptoms because a stroke is a medical emergency. Only 20-25% of the patients who are admitted to the hospital with a stroke arrive in the emergency department within 3 hours of the onset of symptoms. The earlier you are treated after the onset of symptoms, the more likely the intervention will prevent further damage. While there is no guarantee that timely arrival at the hospital will insure a good outcome, treatment with clot busting therapy can only be given within the first hours of a stroke.

In some instances, patients will say that their symptoms went away after an initial episode. This event is often called Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). A TIA occurs when blood flow to part of the brain is blocked but then opens up causing the symptoms to go away. Approximately half of the people who experience a TIA are unaware of the event. A TIA is also called a “mini stroke” or a “warning stroke” since approximately 1/3 of patients experiencing a TIA go on to have a stroke within 1 year. Like a stroke, a TIA is a medical emergency and the patient should be evaluated in an emergency department as soon as possible.

Risk Factors for Stroke

There are several factors that can lead you to have a higher risk of stroke. Some of the risk factors include:

  • Hypertension
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Diabetes
  • Afib
  • Age
  • Male Sex
  • Smoking

Statistics

  • Every 40 seconds someone suffers a stroke (90/hr)
  • Someone dies every 4 minutes of a stroke (15/hr or 2,150/day)
  • Stroke accounts for 1 out of every 19 deaths in the US
  • 6.4 million Americans are stroke survivors
  • 15-30% become permanently disabled from a stroke