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Stroke is the third leading cause of death overall in the United States and a leading cause of disability. Stroke caused more than 157,000 deaths in 2003, and is estimated to cost more than 57 billion dollars in both direct and indirect costs in 2006.1 Each year about 500,000 persons suffer a first stroke and about 200,000 suffer a recurrent stroke.

What is Stroke?
Stroke is a type of cardiovascular disease. It affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it starts to die.

What Are the Types of Stroke?
Stroke can be caused either by a clot obstructing the flow of blood to the brain or by a blood vessel rupturing and preventing blood flow to the brain.

What Are the Effects of Stroke?
The brain is an extremely complex organ that controls various body functions. If a stroke occurs and blood flow can’t reach the region that controls a particular body function, that part of the body won’t work as it should.

What is the Impact of Stroke?
Every 45 seconds, someone in America has a stroke. Every 3 minutes, someone dies of one. Surviving a stroke can have a devastating impact, not only on the survivor, but on everyone who cares about them.

What are the Risk Factors for Stroke?

Risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol intake, increasing age, prior stroke or heart disease, diabetes, family history of stroke, and socioeconomic disadvantage. The risk of death and disability can be reduced if stroke victims receive prompt appropriate treatment. Risk factors for stroke are also related to heart disease, so be smart and get screened!

Hidden Risk Factors for Women
This year, more than 100,000 U.S. women under 65 will have a stroke. Stroke is not a geriatric disease. And it is not confined to elderly overweight smokers who have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

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Signs of a Stroke

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke – major signs of stroke:

Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arms or legs
Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding others
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
Sudden severe headache with no known cause

If you think someone is having a stroke, you should call 911 immediately.
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Knowledge is power!
Learning to recognize the warning signs and acting quickly when they occur can mean the difference in surviving a stroke and minimizing long-term disability, or being physically and mentally devastated or dying from it. Let people know you love them by sharing this important information. Send a message to a friend.

 Source:
American Heart Association. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics
2004 Update. Dallas, Texas: American Heart Association, 2003.

All other information retrieved form the American Stroke Association website
http://www.strokeassociation.org.
Accessed May 8, 2006.