Signs of Stroke: Your Guide to Understanding & Treating This Life-Threatening Condition

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Samantha Miller, MBChB

Photo Courtesy: Morsa Images/DigitalVisions/Getty Images

A stroke is a serious and potentially life-threatening medical condition that affects the blood vessels leading to and within the brain. As a result, the affected portion of the brain stops receiving oxygen as well as the nutrients required for normal function, which, in turn, causes the surrounding tissue to become damaged or die. 

If left untreated, stroke can lead to permanent brain damage, paralysis and even death. There are two types of stroke – ischemic, which is caused by a clot, and hemorrhagic, which is caused by a bleed. Often, they are difficult to tell apart due to overlapping symptoms, which can include weakness, difficulty speaking, and confusion.

Strokes are quite common, so much so that they are the 5th most common cause of death in the United States. Moreover, many survivors experience disabilities as a result of a stroke. To put it more concretely, around 795,000 Americans suffer from a stroke every year, with over 150,000 dying as a result of stroke. Although a stroke can occur at any age, likelihood increases as one gets older. Additionally, folks who have had a stroke before are more likely to have another.