A stroke is a serious health condition which can cause lasting disability, long-term brain damage, and even death.

This condition is the leading cause of death among the American population. A stroke can occur when the flow of blood, which is rich in oxygen, to the brain is blocked, or partially blocked, or when there is a bleeding in the brain.

In both cases, the brain cells start to die and cause a permanent damage. Luckily, an early detection and treatment of a stroke can help you to reduce your brain damage, to decrease the risk of a permanent disability, and to prevent an occurrence of a future stroke.

Types of a Stroke

There are two main types of a stroke, ischemic and hemorrhagic.

  • Ischemic stroke occurs when an artery which supplies oxygen-rich blood to the brain is completely or partially blocked. The most common cause of this blockage is a blood clot.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when an artery in the brain leaks blood or ruptures. When this type of a stroke occurs, the blood creates a pressure on the brain, which causes a brain cell damage. The two major causes of a hemorrhagic stroke are high blood pressure and aneurysms.

People at Risk of Developing a Stroke

The people who are exposed to the risk of developing a stroke are:

  • People with heart disease (or a family history of heart disease)
  • People with a family history of stroke
  • People with high blood pressure
  • People with diabetes
  • People who have already experienced a stroke
  • People who smoke
  • People who drink alcohol or use illicit drugs
  • People who suffer from stress or depression
  • People with obstructive sleep apnea
  • Obese people
  • People who don’t exercise

Common Warning Signs of a Stroke

The most common early warning signs of a stroke include:

  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Trouble speaking and understanding. You might experience confusion or slurring of words.
  • Sudden weakness.
  • Numbness or paralysis in the face, arms, and legs. Most commonly, this occurs only on one side of the body.

You are likely to experience an incapacity to smile or an inability to raise your arms, as well as to keep them raised.

  • Vision problems. You can experience blackened vision, blurred vision, or double vision.
  • Trouble walking. You may experience dizziness, loss of coordination, or loss of balance.