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What is a Stroke?
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What is a Stroke?

Brain attack, more commonly known as a stroke, is caused when a blood vessel is blocked or bursts, preventing oxygen and nutrients from reaching the brain.

The human brain is very complex. When the brain is working at full capacity, blood flows through its vessels, giving it the energy supply it needs to control all of our different body functions.

When a stroke occurs, blood has trouble reaching part of the brain. Within a few minutes of an obstruction, brain cells are injured and tissue begins to die in the affected area.

Each stroke is different depending on what part of the brain is injured, how bad the injury is and the person's general health. Some of the effects of stroke can be:

  • Weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
  • Problems with balance or coordination
  • Problems using language
  • Being unaware of, or ignoring, parts of the body on one side
  • Pain, numbness or odd sensations
  • Problems with memory, thinking, attention or learning
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Problems with bowel or bladder control
  • Sudden bursts of emotion, such as laughing, crying or anger
  • Depression
  • Being unaware of the effects of the stroke

Knowing the risk factors and recognizing the warning signs of a stroke are very important. By knowing the warning signs and seeking emergency care immediately, you can increase the chance of survival and recovery. If you or a loved one suddenly show any symptoms, call 911.

For more information on stroke, visit our Resources page. To learn more about evaluation and treatment of stroke, click here.


The Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence Award
Northwest Hospital Earns The Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence Award
The Emergency Medicine Excellence Award
Northwest Hospital Earns The Emergency Medicine Excellence Award
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