Stroke

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Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the US. A stroke occurs when a clot blocks the blood supply to part of the brain or when a blood vessel in or around the brain bursts. In either case, parts of the brain become damaged or die. Stroke can cause weakness or numbness of an arm or leg on one side of the body or even one side of the face. It can also affect speech and language, vision, memory, emotions, and behaviors.

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Key Facts

  • Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the US.
  • Each year, about 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke.
  • A stroke occurs when a clot blocks the blood supply to part of the brain or when a blood vessel in or around the brain bursts.
  • The leading risk factor for stroke is hypertension or high blood pressure. Controlling your blood pressure is important to prevent strokes.

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Get Emergency Treatment Right Away

If you notice any signs or symptoms of a stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately. The chance that you will survive and recover from a stroke is higher if you get emergency treatment right away.

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Know the Signs and Symptoms of Stroke

Signs of a stroke come on suddenly, such as sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg on one side, sudden confusion, difficulty talking or understanding, sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes, sudden difficulty walking, dizziness, or loss of coordination, or a sudden severe headache.

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Eat a Healthy Diet

Choosing healthful meal and snack options can help you avoid stroke and its complications. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

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Be Physically Active

Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The Surgeon General recommends that adults should engage in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.

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CDC Vital Signs: Getting Blood Pressure Under Control

Prevention Tips

Some risk factors for stroke-heredity, age, gender, and ethnicity-you cannot change. However, whether you have these risk factors or not, you can reduce your risk by making healthy choices such as:
  • Control blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar.
  • Treat atrial fibrillation and other heart diseases.
  • Eat a healthy diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, and sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Be physically active to help maintain a healthy weight.
  • Avoid (or stop) smoking, and limit alcohol use.
Page last reviewed: February 20, 2020