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A stroke is a brain attack. 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, that area of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, causing brain cells to die.
Thus, recovery from stroke and the specific ability affected depends on the size and location of the stroke. For example, a small stroke may result in problems such as weakness in an arm or leg. A larger stroke may cause paralysis (inability to move part of the body), loss of speech, or even death.
Ischemic and Hemorrhagic
The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients in order to function. Even a brief interruption in blood supply can cause problems. Brain cells begin to die after just a few minutes without blood or oxygen. The area of dead cells in tissues is called a stroke (or infarct). When cells die, chemicals are released that can cause even more cells to die.
The earlier a stroke patient gets to the emergency department, the better the chance they will be able to receive treatment that stops or reduces the amount of brain damage from the stroke.
When brain cells die, functions that were under control of those brain cells are lost. This may include impaired language, speech, movement, thinking and memory, bowel and bladder, eating, emotional control, and other vital body functions. Specific abilities lost or affected depend on where in the brain the stroke occurs and on the size of the stroke.
F – Face; ask the person to smile. Does one side droop?
A – Arms; ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S – Speech; ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is there speech slurred or strange?
T – Time; If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately!
Below is a list of websites to learn about stroke, stroke survivorship and recovery.
HARC offers multiple programs for participants with aphasia, their caregivers, families and volunteers. Wellness programs help stroke survivors build language skills and provide practice for understanding and being understood in a safe, fun environment.
Is your physician requiring a driver evaluation before you can return to driving? When a stroke occurs, it can affect skills necessary for independent driving with limitations in vision, perception, reaction time or functional ability. Many stroke survivors can return to independent driving but require adaptive equipment and training. If you, your caregiver or a physician has concerns over your ability to drive post-stroke, contact Strowmatt Rehabilitation Services for specialized services to aid in your road to recovery.
The Jung Center’s Mind Body Spirit Institute helps individuals and communities to flourish with innovative new approaches to cultivating wellness and emotional health. From insightful workshops to long-term, in depth certificate programs, Mind Body Spirit Institute offers solutions to those looking to refresh their approach to life, embrace their own potential, and experience greater meaning and satisfaction in their work.
The CDC offers valuable educational information on health-related topics, including stroke. For information on stroke risk and prevention, survivor stories, statistics and other resources, visit their website.
In collaboration with the American Heart Association, the American Stroke Association’s website provides valuable tips for life after stroke, such as choosing the right rehab facility for the patient’s needs. The website provides subscriber information for the award-winning Stroke Connection magazine, which is published quarterly and filled with information for stroke survivors and their families. Find educational publications, a monthly eNewsletter, downloadable fact sheets and multimedia resources.
This website provides patients, their families, and caregivers with valuable resources about how to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and understand how strokes are diagnosed and treated. Caregivers will find helpful information that will ease the transition from hospital to home and guide both patient and caregiver through the recovery process.
WHO and the CDC created this Atlas to address the global epidemics of heart disease and stroke. Each of the six sections is written in easy-to-understand, concise language, and includes images to help readers visualize the information. Topics include treatment, health education, and ways to reduce the risk of future strokes.
Are you interested in participating in a research study? To access a list of ongoing clinical trials near you, visit https://clinicaltrials.gov/. For more information, view this video on understanding clinical trials. For instructions on how to search for a research study that may be of interest to you, visit ClinicalTrials.gov.
PISCES III is a clinical research study that is evaluating if a study drug, made from stem cells, will help improve function in those who recently suffered an ischemic stroke. You or a loved one may qualify if you are 35-75 years old, had your stroke within the past 23 months, and have limited movement in the arms/legs.
For more information on the trial and eligibility, please contact Dr. Sean Savitz, Director, UTHealth Institute for Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease at 713-500-7085 or Dorothea.M.Parker@uth.tmc.edu.
Take the National Aphasia Association's Aphasia Facts Quiz
Download Know Your Brain Basics Published by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
CDC HEADS UP
National Institute of Health/National Institute on Aging - Cognitive Health
The Dana Foundation
American Heart Association: About Stroke
American Heart Association: About Stroke