What is a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot (ischemic stroke) or bursts (hemorrhagic stroke).
Prior to a major stroke, people sometime experience a transient ischemic attack (TIA) in which a clot obstructs an artery for a short time and creates stroke-like symptoms. Since these "temporary" or "mini-strokes" last only minutes or hours, people often ignore them.
Go to the emergency room for any of these symptoms, even if they resolve. Follow up with your doctor to help prevent a debilitating stroke.
Stroke Signs and Symptoms
Two million brain cells die every minute during a stroke. Therefore, every second counts. If a stroke is not treated immediately, the death of brain cells will lead directly to loss of function—paralysis, loss of speech, loss of vision and even death. Our five Stroke Centers are located throughout Western New York to get you the level of care you need as quickly as possible.
If you think you are experiencing stroke symptoms should call 911 immediately. Symptoms include:
- Weakness, numbness, or paralysis of the arms or legs, especially on one side of the body
- Inability to hold arm upward
- Facial droop, inability to smile
- Un-explainable worst headache of life, light is bothersome, neck stiffness
- Severe dizziness, loss of balance
- Loss of normal vision
- Confusion and problems with speech – can’t think of a word, can’t say a word
Risk Factors of Stroke
|Variable Factors||Fixed Factors|
What Can You Do to Prevent a Stroke?
- Keep your blood pressure low.
- Limit alcohol use.
- Get regular exercise.
- Eat healthy.
- Don't smoke.
- Visit your doctor for an Atrial Fibrillation check-up.
- Take medication as prescribed by a physician.
The Science of Stroke
Click here to read about the different types of stroke, different treatments offered at Catholic Health's stroke centers, and much more.