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Home > Medical Services > CardioVascular Center > Care of Your Heart > Stroke

Stroke

A stroke is a brain attack that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly shut off by a blood clot or piece of plaque (ischemic stroke) or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, spilling blood into the spaces around the brain or within the brain tissue (hemorrhagic stroke). Like a heart attack causes heart cells to die, a brain attack, or stroke causes brain cells to die. The results can be very mild to very serious, and can be temporary or permanent.

A transient ischemic attack or TIA, sometimes called "mini- stroke", is a warning sign for stroke. The symptoms are like those of a stroke but usually last only a few minutes to a few hours.

Signs and symptoms of stroke or TIA are the same:

  1. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  3. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  4. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  5. Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

If you experience any of these symptoms, call 911. Do not drive yourself or have anyone drive you to the hospital.

The best treatment for a stroke is prevention. Risk factors for stroke are similar to risk factors for heart disease. You should know your personal risk factors and work with your healthcare provider to control those risk factors that can be controlled. For more information about stroke and TIA, speak with your physician or call our Stroke Coordinator at 610-738-6790.

Last Updated: 7/19/2011