A stroke occurs when blood can no longer reach the brain. When this blood flow is blocked, brain cells can become oxygen-deprived and die. When brain cells die, the abilities controlled by different areas of the brain can begin to weaken. For example, if brain cells die in the part of brain that controls muscle, muscle control will diminish.
Where a stroke occurs directly impacts how a person is affected and how much damage occurs in the brain. Some people may never even know they had a stroke, and some strokes could leave permanent damage. The effects of larger strokes could be as severe as paralysis or losing the ability to speak. Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the U.S., leaving nearly two-thirds of stroke survivors disabled.
With strokes, minutes matter. The quicker stroke care is delivered, the better the potential short- and long-term outcomes. If you think you or a loved one is having a stroke, call 911 or take that person to the emergency room immediately.
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