Stroke is a brain injury. It occurs when the brain's blood supply is interrupted. Without oxygen and nutrients from blood, brain tissue dies quickly (in less than 10 minutes). This causes a sudden function loss.
A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked (called ischemic stroke). This is caused by one of the following:
Sudden decreased blood flow
Damage to a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain can occur suddenly from either:
A clot that forms and breaks off from another part of the body (such as the heart or neck)
There are certain conditions which predispose people to form blood clots, such as:
Prior stroke or pre-existing cardiovascular disease, such as
transient ischemic attack
(TIA)—Some people experience a "warning stroke" or TIA. This is a temporary interruption of the brain's blood supply (mini-stroke). These are stroke symptoms that resolve completely within minutes. They may signal a very high risk of having a full-blown stroke in the near future.
Symptoms occur suddenly. They differ depending on the part of the brain affected. Also, multiple symptoms can happen at the same time. If you notice any of the symptoms below, call emergency help right away. Getting help immediately is important, because brain tissue dies quickly when deprived of oxygen.
Sudden weakness or numbness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
Sudden trouble speaking or understanding
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Sudden dizziness, trouble walking, loss of balance, or coordination
Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Having a stroke is an emergency situation. Diagnosis includes:
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11/20/06 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Mas JL, Chatellier G, Beyssen B, et al. Endarterectomy versus stenting in patients with symptomatic severe carotid stenosis.
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10/9/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a