What is a Stroke?

Stroke is the number 4 cause of death and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in America. It occurs when a blood vessel bringing blood and oxygen to the brain gets blocked or ruptures and brain cells don’t get the flow of blood they need. Deprived of oxygen, nerve cells can’t function and die within minutes. And when nerve cells don’t function, the part of the body they control can’t function either. The devastating effects of stroke are often permanent because dead brain cells can’t be replaced.

What is a TIA?

TIA, or transient ischemic attack, is a “warning stroke” that occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery for a short time. The symptoms of a TIA are the same as those of a stroke, but they usually last only a few minutes. About 15% of strokes are preceded by TIAs, so don’t ignore a TIA. Call 911 or seek emergency medical attention immediately.

Learn to Recognize a Stroke

Stroke is a medical emergency. Know these warning signs of stroke and teach them to others. Every second counts:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Learn About Stroke Risk Factors