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What is Stroke?

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. The blood supply interruption kills brain cells by depriving them of oxygen and other nutrients found in the blood.

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 – the  blockage of a blood vessel supplying oxygen to the brain
  • hemorrhagic - bleeding into or around the brain

Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation may include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy

Prevention

The following may help prevent a stroke:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Increase intake of fruits and vegetables and limit dietary salt and fat
  • Stop smoking
  • If you drink alcohol, drink alcohol only in moderation (1-2 drinks per day)
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Frequently check blood pressure and follow physician recommendations for keeping it in a safe range
  • Consider taking a low dose of aspirin.
  • Keep chronic medical conditions under control (such as high cholesterol and diabetes)
  • Seek medical care if you have symptoms of a stroke, even if symptoms stop.

Discuss each of these points with your healthcare practitioner determine if it is appropriate for you.

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