April 30, 2008 (Jamaica, NY)– Stroke is the third leading cause of death and a leading cause of disabilities in the United States. Every year, approximately 780,000 Americans suffer from a new or recurrent stroke and more than 150,000 people die as a result.
Defined by the American Stroke Association, a stroke is a type of cardiovascular disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. When a person has a stroke, also known as a ÛÏbrain attack,Û either the blood flow to their brain is interrupted, an ischemic stroke, or a blood vessel in the brain bursts, a hemorrhagic stroke. As a result, brain cells in the immediate area stop getting the necessary oxygen and nutrients they need to function and die or become damaged by bleeding into or around the brain.
Research indicates that if a stroke patient receives care within the first three hours after suffering a stroke, the chances of a full recovery are greatly increased. Yet, research has shown that many individuals are unaware of stroke warning signs and the vital need for immediate medical attention.
ÛÏThe most common mistake that individuals make is not addressing stroke symptoms right away,Û explained Dr. Angelo Canedo, Vice President, Rehabilitation Services for the MediSys Health Network Stroke Centers. ÛÏToo often, symptoms are just not taken seriously. Most people donÛªt realize that immediate emergency care can make a difference in recovery for a person who may be experiencing a stroke.Û
A stroke has specific and sudden affects on the body, particularly physical and cognitive abilities. Stroke warning signs usually include lethargy; sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; changes in speech, trouble speaking or understanding; loss of balance or coordination; difficulty swallowing; trouble seeing on one or both eyes; and a severe headache with no known cause.