Stroke is a disease that affects roughly 795,000 new or previously affected people in the U.S. annually. It is the number 5 cause of disability in this country.
There are 3 main causes of stroke. The majority of strokes are due to blockages in the blood vessels that support parts of the brain.
- Ischemic stroke (loss of blood flow): The result of plaque or atherosclerosis in the arteries, often a normal part of aging but made worse by vascular risk factors
- Cardioembolic stroke: The result of heart disease
- Other kinds of stroke: May be due to intracranial hemorrhage due to aneurysms in the brain that can burst or small blood vessels in the brain that can rupture
Since the 1990s, numerous stroke trials have taken place to reduce stroke mortality and disability. When identified quickly, and if blood flow can be reestablished, the risk of disabling stroke and death is reduced.
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Intracranial hemorrhage
- carotid disease (plaque in the neck arteries)
- Atrial fibrillation and irregular heartbeat
- Brain bleed
- TPA – Removes clots from arteries lodged in the brain at the time of stroke