What is a stroke?

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a stroke, also known as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), occurs “when the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly interrupted or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, spilling blood into the spaces surrounding brain cells.” The first is also known as an ischemic stroke and the second is known as a hemorrhagic stroke. A third type of stroke, known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini-stroke, occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked for only short period of time and is considered a sign of future strokes. The symptoms of a stroke include sudden onset of numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body; confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding speech; trouble seeing with one or both eyes; trouble walking or loss of balance or coordination; or a severe headache that does not have a known cause.

According to Craig Hospital, strokes are the third leading cause of death in the US after heart disease and cancer; however, strokes are the leading cause of disability. Many people who experience a stroke may have “lasting problems with how their body works.” Rehabilitation and therapy may be necessary to help them deal with these changes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide information that can help you prevent a stroke by making healthy choices and controlling other medical conditions. Consult with a primary care provider before making any changes to your lifestyle or medical management.

NARIC’s information specialists searched the NIDILRR Program Database and found over 100 current and complete NIDILRR-funded projects that are researching or have researched different aspects of strokes. They also searched REHABDATA and they found 2,000 articles about stroke in the NARIC Collection. Finally, they searched NARIC’s Knowledgebase and found over 40 organizations that assist people who have experienced a stroke, their families, and service providers. If you need more information or require assistance, please contact NARIC’s information specialists.

Please Note: If you or a loved one are experiencing the signs of a stroke, please call 911 immediately! To remember the signs of a stroke, you can utilize the FAST mnemonic from the American Stroke Association: Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 911

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
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