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Stroke Awareness - What is a Stroke?

A stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. It is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States.

  • A stroke occurs when blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or reduced. It is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment. Brain cells can begin dying within minutes. Early action and rapid treatment can reduce brain damage and other permanent complications.
  • Strokes are the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the U.S.
  • A stroke can happen to anyone — any age, any time — and everyone needs to know the warning signs.
  • The two main types of strokes are ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes.

Types of Strokes

  • Ischemic stroke: Occurs when there is a blockage in a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain, leading to a lack of oxygen and nutrients in the affected area. This type of stroke accounts for 87% of all strokes.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke: Occurs when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures or leaks, leading to bleeding in or around the brain.


In the event of a stroke, minutes matter. Time is brain! During a stroke, a person loses 2 million brain cells per minute. Each hour of a stroke is like 3.6 years of aging due to brain cells lost.




Sudden loss of balance



Sudden change in vision



Sudden facial drop



Sudden arm or leg weakness



Sudden speech difficulty



to call 911

Recognizing a Stroke Can Save a Life.

  • If you’re having a stroke, it’s critical that you get medical attention right away. Immediate treatment may minimize the long-term effects of a stroke and even prevent death.
  • Thanks to recent advances, stroke treatments and survival rates have improved greatly over the last decade.

Effects of a Stroke?

The brain is an extremely complex organ that controls various body functions. If a stroke occurs and blood flow can’t reach the region that controls a particular body function, that part of the body won’t work as it should.

  • The effects of a stroke depend on several factors, including the location of the obstruction and how much brain tissue is affected. Because one side of the brain controls the opposite side of the body, a stroke affecting one side will result in neurological complications on the side of the body it affects.

Left Brain

If the stroke occurs in the left side of the brain, the right side of the body will be affected, producing some or all the following:

  • Paralysis on the right side of the body
  • Speech/language problems
  • Slow, cautious behavioral style
  • Memory loss

Right Brain

If the stroke occurs in the right side of the brain, the left side of the body will be affected, producing some or all the following:

  • Paralysis on the left side of the body
  • Vision problems
  • Quick, inquisitive behavioral style
  • Memory loss


Strokes are the #1 cause of long-term disability, yet up to 80% of strokes are preventable. You can decrease your risk if you:

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Manage your diabetes.
  • Do not abuse alcohol.
  • Schedule regular doctor visits
  • Follow a doctor’s advice to manage blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Click here for more information about the NCH Wingard Stroke Institute, and our award-winning service.