Thumbnail image of: Types of Stroke: Illustration

Stroke: Brief Version

What is a stroke?

Strokes happen when blood flow to part of your brain stops. This can be caused by a blood clot or a break in a blood vessel in the brain. This can cause problems in parts of the body controlled by that part of the brain. You may have trouble walking, talking, or seeing. A stroke can cause life-long damage or even death. A stroke is an emergency. Get help right away.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of a stroke come on very fast. They may include:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arms, or legs
  • Problems with the way you think or speak
  • Problems seeing
  • Problems walking
  • A very bad headache

If you think you are having a stroke, call 911 right away. You need to get medical care quickly.

How is it treated?

You will need to stay at the hospital. You will need treatment for whatever caused the stroke.

Your healthcare provider may give you medicine to break down blood clots and keep your symptoms from getting worse.

After a stroke, you may need to start a rehabilitation or “rehab” program. During rehab, you work on getting your strength back. You may also learn new ways to eat, dress, and take care of yourself. You may need help for problems with swallowing, talking, or understanding words. You may need a cane, a walker, or a wheelchair to get around.

How can I help prevent a stroke?

  • Keep all your doctor visits and take your medicine.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Lose weight if you need to.
  • Exercise every day.
  • Don’t drink much alcohol.
Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-05-28
Last reviewed: 2014-05-27
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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