If you're like most Americans, you plan for your future. When you take a job,
you examine its benefit plan. When you buy a home, you consider its location and
condition so that your investment is safe. Today, more and more Americans are
protecting their most important asset--their health. Are you?
Stroke ranks as the third leading killer in the United
States. A stroke can be devastating to individuals and their families, robbing
them of their independence. It is the most common cause of adult disability.
Each year more than 700,000 Americans have a stroke, with about 160,000 dying
from stroke-related causes. Officials at the National Institute of Neurological
Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) are committed to reducing that burden through
What is a Stroke?
A stroke, or "brain attack," occurs when blood circulation
to the brain fails. Brain cells can die from decreased blood flow and the
resulting lack of oxygen. There are two broad categories of stroke:
- those caused
by a blockage of blood flow and
- those caused by bleeding.
Blockage of Blood Flow
While not usually
fatal, a blockage of a blood vessel in the brain or neck, called an ischemic stroke, is the most
frequent cause of stroke and is responsible for about 80 percent of strokes.
These blockages stem from three conditions:
- the formation of a clot within a
blood vessel of the brain or neck, called
movement of a clot from another part of the body such as the heart to the neck or brain, called
- a severe narrowing of an artery in or leading to the brain, called
the brain or the spaces surrounding the brain causes the second type of stroke,
called hemorrhagic stroke.
Two key steps you can take will lower your risk of death or disability from
stroke: know stroke's warning signs and control stroke's risk factors.
Scientific research conducted by the NINDS has identified warning signs and a
large number of risk factors.
Viewers share their comments
Stroke Prevention - Warning Signs
Question: What were the warning signs of a stroke in you or someone you know? Please describe your experience.
Stroke Prevention - Risk
Question: Are you or someone you know at risk for having a stroke? What are your worries or concerns?
Stroke Prevention - Treatable Risk Factors
Question: If you or a relative are at risk for having a stroke, what health and lifestyle changes have you made?