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Feeling depressed or anxious?
It is common for people who have had a stroke to suffer from depression or anxiety. Vanderbilt has resources to help. Click here to learn more about mood disorders and how we can treat them.
Strokes happen when bloodflow to your brain stops. Brain cells begin to die within minutes of a stroke. It is important to get medical help immediately if you suspect you are having a stroke. Treatment can greatly reduce serious damage and long-term problems.
There are two kinds of stroke. The more common kind is ischemic stroke. It happens when a blood clot blocks or plugs a blood vessel in the brain. The other kind, hemorrhagic stroke, happens when a blood vessel breaks and bleeds into the brain.
Mini-strokes or transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), occur when the blood supply to the brain is briefly interrupted.
About 3% of stroke patients will have another stroke within 30 days of their first stroke. Approximately 25% of people who have a stroke and then recover will have another stroke within 5 years.
The risk of disability or death grows with each stroke. Patients have the highest risk of a recurrent stroke right after a stroke. The risk decreases with time.
Symptoms of stroke include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body)
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing with one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
If you have any of these symptoms, get medical help immediately.
Acute stroke treatment may use drugs or procedures to dissolve blood clots and increase blood flow to the brain.
Occupational, speech or physical therapy, as well as counseling, can help patients work through recovery from a stroke.
- High blood pressure
- Age: Risk approximately doubles for each decade of life after age 55.
- Gender: More common in men than women; birth control pills and pregnancy pose special stroke risks for women.
- Prior stroke or TIA
- History of heart disease or heart attack
- Carotid or other artery disease
- Atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm disorder
- Sickle-cell anemia
- High blood cholesterol
- Poor diet
- Physical inactivity and obesity
- Family history of stroke