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About Stroke

WHAT IS A STROKE?

Blood vessels that carry blood to the brain from the heart are called arteries. The brain needs a constant supply of blood, which carries the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function. Specific arteries supply blood to specific areas of the brain. A stroke occurs when one of these arteries to the brain is either blocked or bursts. As a result, part of the brain does not get the blood it needs, so it starts to die. It is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States.

TYPES OF STROKE

Stroke can be caused either by a clot obstructing the flow of blood to the brain (called an ischemic stroke) or by a blood vessel rupturing and preventing blood flow to the brain (called a hemorrhagic stroke). A TIA (transient ischemic attack), or "mini stroke", is caused by a temporary clot.

EFFECTS OF 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.

If the stroke occurs toward the back of the brain, for instance, it's likely that some disability involving vision will result. The effects of a stroke depend primarily on the location of the obstruction and the extent of brain tissue affected.

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