While stroke affects 750,000 Americans each year, more than 500,000 of these cases are preventable.
Also called "cerebrovascular disease," stroke is caused when blood supply to the brain is interrupted, resulting in a depletion of oxygen and glucose. Lacking these nutrients, brain cells become damaged or die altogether, further impairing brain function.
Types of Stroke
There are two main types of stroke:
- Ischemic stroke is a blockage in a blood vessel within the brain, due to a blood clot or fatty deposits.
- Hemorrhagic stroke is when a blood vessel within the brain ruptures, causing bleeding.
Heart and Stroke: Stroke as "Brain Attack"
To better understand stroke causes and ways in which stroke affects the brain, HonorHealth's neurologists often compare stroke with heart attack, referring to stroke as "brain attack."
What happens in the heart during a heart attack also happens in the brain during stroke. The longer blood supply is interrupted, the more damage to tissue is caused. Just as "time is heart" with heart attacks, "time is brain" with strokes.
For this reason, it's important to get treatment for stroke quickly. After the onset of stroke, approximately two million brain cells die each minute, until treatment is administered.
Diseases of the heart and stroke also share many risk factors. They include:
- Lack of exercise.
- Poor diet.
- High blood pressure.
- High Cholesterol.
Other factors of stroke include:
- Genetic predisposition to high cholesterol.
Many risk factors can be curbed through a stroke prevention program outlined by a doctor.
Once you've suffered a stroke, you're 10 times more likely to suffer another. Whether or not you've already suffered a stroke, taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle can play a big part in decreasing your risk. Here are some ways to reduce your risk:
- Stop smoking.
- Engage in physical activity on a regular basis.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Eat a healthy diet, including a low-sodium diet if you have high blood pressure.
- Maintain a healthy blood pressure level.
- If you have a heart condition, including valve disease or irregular heartbeat, work with your doctor to monitor and control it.
- Take medication as directed.
Community Stroke Screenings
HonorHealth offers stroke screenings periodically at some of our campuses. See our Calendar of Events for upcoming screenings.