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Brain Attack Facts


Learn to Avoid the Brain Attack

Strokes are known as brain attacks because they are caused by a lack of blood supply to the brain triggered by a blockage or a rupture in an artery. They are a medical emergency and require immediate medical treatment. Do not wait, call 911 immediately.

The first three hours after a stroke are critical to receive the medical treatment and medication you need. If medication is administered promptly, some damage can be lessened or reversed.

At High Point Regional Health, a nationally certified Stroke and Trauma Center, we will take care or you if you are having a stroke, but we prefer to help you prevent one in the first place.

Warning signs of Stroke:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden vision changes in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

If you think someone is having a stroke, give them this simple test:

1. Ask them to smile
2. Ask them to say a simple sentence
3. Ask them to raise their hands above their head
If they have trouble with any of these directions, get help immediately.

More about Strokes

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that brings oxygen and nutrients to the brain bursts or is clogged by a blood clot or some other particle. Because of this rupture or blockage, part of the brain doesn’t get the blood and oxygen it needs. Deprived of oxygen, nerve cells in the affected area of the brain die within minutes.

There are two main types of stroke. One is caused by blood clots or other particles (ischemic strokes), and the other by bleeding from a burst blood vessel (hemorrhagic strokes). Ischemic strokes are the most common.

Cerebral thrombosis is the most common type of ischemic stroke. It occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms and blocks blood flow in an artery bringing blood to part of the brain. Blood clots usually form in arteries narrowed by fatty deposits called plaque. Cerebral embolism, another kind of ischemic stroke, occurs when a wandering clot or some other particle (an embolus) forms away from the brain, usually in the heart. The bloodstream carries the clot until it lodges and blocks blood flow in an artery leading to or in the brain.

A subarachnoid hemorrhage occurs when a blood vessel on the brain’s surface ruptures and bleeds into the space between the brain and the skull (but not into the brain itself). Another type of hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a defective artery in the brain bursts, flooding the surrounding tissue with blood. This is a cerebral hemorrhage. Bleeding from an artery in the brain can be caused by a head injury or a burst aneurysm. Aneurysms are blood-filled pouches that balloon out from weak spots in the artery wall. They’re often caused or made worse by high blood pressure. If an aneurysm bursts in the brain, it causes a hemorrhagic stroke.

Of all strokes, 87 percent are ischemic, 10 percent are intracerebral hemorrhage, and 3 percent are subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Did you know? Each year, about 55,000 more women than men experience a stroke.