A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly interrupted or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, spilling blood into the spaces surrounding brain cells. Brain cells die when they no longer receive oxygen and nutrients from the blood or there is sudden bleeding into or around the brain. The symptoms of a stroke include sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble with walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination; or sudden severe headache with no known cause. There are two forms of stroke: ischemic – blockage of a blood vessel supplying the brain, and hemorrhagic – bleeding into or around the brain.
Generally there are three treatment stages for stroke: prevention, therapy immediately after the stroke, and post-stroke rehabilitation. Therapies to prevent a first or recurrent stroke are based on treating an individual’s underlying risk factors for stroke, such as hypertension, atrial fibrillation, and diabetes. Acute stroke therapies try to stop a stroke while it is happening by quickly dissolving the blood clot causing an ischemic stroke or by stopping the bleeding of a hemorrhagic stroke. Post-stroke rehabilitation helps individuals overcome disabilities that result from stroke damage. Medication or drug therapy is the most common treatment for stroke. The most popular classes of drugs used to prevent or treat stroke are antithrombotics (antiplatelet agents and anticoagulants) and thrombolytics.
Although stroke is a disease of the brain, it can affect the entire body. A common disability that results from stroke is complete paralysis on one side of the body, called hemiplegia. A related disability that is not as debilitating as paralysis is one-sided weakness or hemiparesis. Stroke may cause problems with thinking, awareness, attention, learning, judgment, and memory. Stroke survivors often have problems understanding or forming speech. A stroke can lead to emotional problems. Stroke patients may have difficulty controlling their emotions or may express inappropriate emotions. Many stroke patients experience depression. Stroke survivors may also have numbness or strange sensations. The pain is often worse in the hands and feet and is made worse by movement and temperature changes, especially cold temperatures.
Recurrent stroke is frequent; about 25 percent of people who recover from their first stroke will have another stroke within 5 years.
- What You Need to Know about Stroke – Stroke publication education booklet
- Transient Ischemic Attack Information Page – Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) information sheet compiled by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
- Stroke: Hope Through Research – An informational booklet about stroke compiled by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
- Stroke Scales and Related Information – Download free versions of NIH Stroke Scale and Related Information. Graphical and Text PDF available. More information for clinicians about acute stroke.
- Stroke Risk Factors and Symptoms – A short document describing stroke risk factors and symptoms.
- Stroke Rehabilitation Information – Stroke rehabilitation information, resources, and statistics. Discusses the effects of stroke, types of rehabilitation programs, and how to prevent another stroke.
- Stroke fact sheet available in multiple languages through MedlinePlus
- Rehabilitación Posterior al Ataque Cerebral
- Questions and Answers About Treating Arterial Stenosis and Preventing Stroke – Treatments of stenosis include medication and lifestyle changes. Surgery, such as carotid endarterectomy or placement of a stent, is recommended in some cases.
- Questions and Answers About Stroke – Strokes can be ischemic (blood vessel blockage) or hemorrhagic (brain bleeding). Read about symptoms, risk factors, and the need to act fast in case of a stroke.
- Questions and Answers About Carotid Endarterectomy – Carotid endarterectomy can prevent stroke in some patients. Diagnosis of carotid artery disease, blood vessel blockage, and stroke risk factors are discussed.
- Post-Stroke Rehabilitation Fact Sheet – Post-stroke rehabilitation fact sheet from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
- Neurological Diagnostic Tests and Procedures – Fact sheet on neurological diagnosis and testing, prepared by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
- Multi-Infarct Dementia Information Page – Multi-infarct dementia information sheet compiled by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
- Lo Que Necesita Saber Sobre Los Ataques Cerebrales
- Know Stroke, Know the Signs, Act in Time – Stroke public education booklet
- Conozca qué son los Ataques o Derrames Cerebrales. Conozca las señales.
- Cómo Prevenir un Accidente Cerebrovascular
- Brain Basics: Preventing Stroke – Brain Basics Series. Healthy living habits can prevent stroke. Read about the risk factors and warning signs of stroke. Includes charts to score your stroke risk.
- Apoplejía : Factores de Riesgo y Síntomas
- Accidente Cerebrovascular: Esperanza en la Investigación
- Order NINDS Publications
APS Foundation of America, Inc. is not intended to replace standard doctor-patient visits, physical examination, and medical testing. Information given to members is only an opinion. All information should be confirmed with your personal doctor. Always seek the advice of a trained physician in person before seeking any new treatment regarding your medical diagnosis or condition. Any information received from APS Foundation of America, Inc is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure. This brochure is for informational purposes only.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
A team of people contributed to this publication. Where to find this information: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/stroke/stroke.htm
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892
NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient’s medical history.
All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.
Founded in 2005, the APS Foundation of America, Inc. is dedicated to fostering and facilitating joint efforts in the areas of education, public awareness, research, and patient services for Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS) in an effective and ethical manner.
APS Foundation of America, Inc.
P. O. Box 801
LaCrosse, WI 54602-0801
[ Contact Form ]
DISCLAIMER: APS Foundation of America, Inc. website is not intended to replace standard doctor-patient visits, physical examination, and medical testing. Information given to members is only an opinion. All information should be confirmed with your personal doctor. Always seek the advice of a trained physician in person before seeking any new treatment regarding your medical diagnosis or condition. Any information received from APS Foundation of America, Inc. website is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure. This site is for informational purposes only. Please note that we will be listing all donor or purchaser's names on the Donor page of our foundation site. If you do not want your name listed, please contact us to opt out. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.