Your Risk of Stroke
MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: This video will help you understand what a stroke is and the risk for having one. Normally, blood vessels called arteries carry blood to the brain. The brain needs a constant flow of blood to get the oxygen and nutrients it needs to work properly. During a stroke, also known as a brain attack, blood flow to part of the brain has stopped. The most common type of stroke is called ischemic stroke. It can happen in an artery where a fatty substance called plaque has made the artery narrow. In one type of ischemic stroke called a thrombotic stroke, the plaque can break apart and form a blood clot that blocks the flow of blood to the brain. In another type of ischemic stroke, called an embolic stroke, a blood clot forms in another area of the body and travels through the bloodstream. If it reaches an artery near or in the brain, it can block the flow of blood. When an artery to part of the brain is blocked during a stroke, oxygen and nutrients in the blood can't get to those brain cells. The cells start to die within minutes. A less common type of stroke is called a hemorrhagic stroke. It occurs when a weakened blood vessel breaks open and leaks blood into the brain. This blocks blood flow to the brain and the leaking blood puts pressure on the brain tissue which damages it. In a Transient Ischemic Attack or TIA, a clot blocks the flow of blood to the brain. But it's different from the other types of stroke because the clot breaks up after a short time. Transient Ischemic Attacks usually don't cause any permanent damage. High blood pressure is the main risk factor for any type of stroke. Other risk factors include: diabetes, certain types of heart disease, smoking, high cholesterol, and having previous Transient Ischemic Attacks. It's important to know these signs and symptoms of a stroke, a sudden numbness or weakness in your face, arms, and legs, especially if it's on one side of your body, sudden confusion and trouble speaking or being unable to understand others speaking, sudden trouble seeing out of one or both eyes, sudden dizziness, loss of balance, or being unable to walk, and a sudden severe headache. Call 911 right away if you think you or someone else may be having a stroke.To find out more about your risk for having a stroke, talk to your healthcare provider.