Stroke Symptoms and Signs
Each year about 500,000 people in the United States suffer a first stroke, and a further 200,000 people have a recurrent stroke. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., and also is a major cause of disability and loss of independence and quality of life. Up to 40% of strokes are fatal, but the risks of death from a stroke and the degree of disability can both be significantly reduced by prompt treatment.
Strokes result from impaired oxygen delivery to brain cells via the bloodstream. The oxygen-deprived brain cells die and result in various neurological impairments, depending on the area of the brain that is involved. A stroke is also referred to as a cerebrovascular accident or CVA. The blood supply to the brain can be interrupted both by a blockage in one of the arteries that supply blood to the brain, or a rupture of a blood vessel within the brain. Stroke caused by blockage of an artery is called ischemic stroke, while stroke caused by rupture of an artery is called a hemorrhagic stroke. Ischemic stroke is much more common than hemorrhagic stroke.