Stroke is a type of cardiovascular disease and occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to your brain gets blocked or bursts. When that happens the affected part of your brain doesn’t get the blood it needs. In minutes, it starts to die. There are two types of stroke:
Ischemic – when a clot blocks an artery – this is the most common type and represents almost 90% of all strokes.
Hemorrhagic – is a bleeding stroke which is caused by burst blood vessels in the brain.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure or kidney failure. That’s why high blood pressure is often called the ‘Silent Killer’. Nearly one in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure, but because there are no symptoms, nearly one-third of these people don’t know they have it.
Stroke Warning Signs
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side.
- 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.
If someone you know has one or more or these symptoms, don’t delay. Call 9-1-1 immediately. Check the time when the first symptoms appeared. It’s important to take immediate action as time lost is brain lost. A clot busting drug can reduce the long term disability of an ischemic stroke if given within three hours of the start of symptoms. Appropriate treatment will be determined by the stroke team.
Stroke Risk Factors that Can Be Changed
Several factors increase your risk of stroke. The more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of having a stroke. Some of these you can’t control, such as your age, your family health history, race and gender. But you can modify, treat or control some common factors to lower your risk:
- High blood pressure – Be sure to get it checked yearly
- Cigarette smoking – Quitting smoking won’t only significantly reduce your risk for lung cancer, it can also reduce your risk of stroke
- Diabetes – If you have diabetes, keep it well controlled
- High cholesterol – Stick to a low-fat diet.
- Physical inactivity – Exercise at least 30 minutes daily.
The Cooper Stroke Team
The Stroke Team at Cooper University Hospital, led by Thomas R. Mirsen, M.D., provides patients with expert diagnosis and treatment of ischemic symptoms and acute strokes. The combined expertise of our Neurology, Neuroradiology, and Neurosurgery team provides patients with a full range of specialized services on an inpatient and outpatient basis. Patients admitted to Cooper University Hospital for stroke are assured of twenty-four hour coverage by physicians and other dedicated health professionals who comprise the stroke team. The Cooper Stroke Team is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
For more stroke information, visit:
Delaware Valley Stroke Alert – http://www.strokealert.org/delawarevalley/local.php
Cooper University Hospital’s Health Information Libary http://www.cooperhealth.org/strokeinfo
American Stroke Association – http://www.strokeassociation.org
For more information on Cooper University Hospital’s Stroke Team or to schedule an appointment with a physician at an office near you, please call 1-800-8-COOPER (800-826-6737) to speak with a member of our physician referral and information service.