What is a stroke?
A stroke, also known as cerebrovascular disease or “brain attack”, occurs when the continuous supply of blood that flows to the brain is disrupted. Blood is carried to the brain by blood vessels called arteries. The flow of blood in an artery can be interrupted or stopped completely by a blood clot or if the artery breaks or bursts. When either of these things happen brain cells begin to die and cause brain damage.
When brain cells die during a stroke, the abilities controlled by that region of the brain are lost. These abilities often include speech, movement and memory. Stroke affects each patient differently depending on the area of the brain the stroke occurs and how much of the brain is damaged.
A small stroke may only cause minor issues such as weakness in an arm or leg, while a larger stroke may cause a patient to be paralyzed or lose the capacity to speak. Some people recover completely, but the majority of stroke survivors will have some type of disability.
According to research comparing hospitalizations in 1994 and 1996 with the ones in 2006 and 2007, strokes are occurring younger.
For every 10,000 hospitalizations in 1994-96 compared with those in 2006-07 the occurrence of stroke rose in younger age groups:
- 51% from 9.8 to 14.8 among males 15 to 34 years old
- 17% from 3.6 to 4.2 in females 15 to 34 years old
- 47% from 36 to 52.9 in males 35 to 44 years old
- 36% from 21.9 to 30 in females 35 to 44 years old
Young or old, know your risk factors of stroke and how to avoid them.