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DESCRIPTION:A stroke or "brain attack" occurs when
brain cells die because of inadequate blood flow. When blood flow fails, brain cells are
robbed of vital supplies of oxygen and nutrients. About 80 percent of strokes are caused
by the blockage of an artery in the neck or brain, and the rest by bleeding into or around
the brain. Some strokes have little recognizable effect. Others can quickly cause death.
Stroke kills about 150,000 Americans each year and is the leading cause of adult
disability. As the names "stroke"and "brain attack" imply, it happens
suddenly. Many strokes could be prevented by heeding strokes warning signs and
treating its underlying risk factors, including high blood pressure, cigarette smoking,
diabetes, and heart disease.
WARNING SIGNS OF A STROKE: If you observe one or more of
these signs of a stroke or "brain attack," dont wait, call a doctor or 911
- Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm, or leg on one side of the body.
- Sudden dimness or loss of vision, particularly in one eye.
- Sudden difficulty speaking or trouble understanding speech.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
- Unexplained dizziness, unsteadiness, or sudden falls, especially with any of the other
Warning signs may last a few moments and disappear but indicate a serious condition
that wont go away without medical help.
Standard medical textbooks and health guides found at a local
library contain additional information on preventing and treating stroke as well as coping
with disability from a stroke. The following articles available from a medical library
provide in-depth information on the latest clinical findings in NINDS-sponsored stroke
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke t-PA Study Group.
"Tissue Plasminogen Activator for Acute Ischemic Stroke." The New England
Journal of Medicine, 333:24; 1581-1587 (December 14, 1995).
Stroke Prevention In Atrial Fibrillation Study Group Investigators. "Preliminary
Report of the Stroke Prevention in Atrial Fibrillation Study." The New England
Journal of Medicine, 322:12; 863-868 (March 22, 1990).
Stroke Prevention in Atrial Fibrillation Investigators. "Warfarin Versus Aspirin
for Prevention of Thromboembolism Atrial Fibrillation: The Stroke Prevention in Atrial
Fibrillation II Study." The Lancet, 343:8899; 687-691 (March 19, 1994).
The North American Symptomatic Carotid Endarterectomy Trial Collaborators.
"Beneficial Effect of Carotid Endarterectomy in Symptomatic Patients with High-Grade
Carotid Stenosis." The New England Journal of Medicine, 325:7; 445-453 (August
Executive Committee for the Asymptomatic Carotid Atherosclerosis Study.
"Endarterectomy for Asymptomatic Carotid Artery Stenosis." Journal of the
American Medical Association, 273:18; 1421-1428 (May 10, 1995).
To Obtain Suggested Resources
American Heart Association
7272 Greenville Avenue
Dallas, TX 75231
Agency for Health Care Policy and Research
P.O. Box 8547
Silver Spring, MD 20907
National Stroke Association
96 Inverness Drive East, Suite One
Englewood, CO 80112
National Rehabilitation Information Center
8455 Colesville Road, Suite 935
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3319
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892
Information provided by the NIH.