What Is A Stroke?
A stroke occurs when vital blood flow and oxygen to the brain is interrupted. A stroke can injure the brain just as a heart attack can injure the heart. There are two types of stroke:
- Ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke. It occurs when there is a sudden lack of blood flow to a part of the brain, usually due to a blood clot blocking an artery in the brain. Often the artery is already clogged with plaques and fatty deposits (atherosclerosis).
- Hemorrhagic stroke, or bleeding in the brain, is caused by a broken or leaking blood vessel in the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke may also be caused by an aneurysm — a thin or weak spot in an artery that balloons out and can burst.
Approximately 9 out of every 10 strokes are ischemic strokes; the rest are hemorrhagic. Either type of stroke can cause brain cells to die. Two million brain cells die every minute during stroke, increasing risk of permanent brain damage, disability or death. This brain damage may cause loss of control of certain brain functions, such as speech, movement, and memory. Recognizing the symptoms and acting FAST to get medical attention can save a life and limit disabilities. A stroke is an emergency and should be treated as quickly as possible by calling 9-1-1.
Each year, nearly 375,000 women suffer from stroke, and nearly one-third of women stroke victims will die as a result. More women suffer stroke annually than men, and a greater percentage of women stroke victims die compared to men. Tragically, many strokes are preventable, and all strokes are treatable when medical attention is sought immediately. Yet women frequently wait longer than men to seek medical assistance for a stroke — and suffer the consequences.