A stroke is a sudden interruption in the blood supply of the brain, usually caused by an abrupt blockage of arteries leading to the brain. Ischemic stroke is by far the most common type of stroke, and it affects more women than men.
In older adults, the gradual buildup of cholesterol in arteries supplying the brain is the typical culprit that can trigger an ischemic stroke.
Having hypertension, heart disease, or diabetes also elevates the risk of a stroke. These three chronic health conditions can also increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
Stroke warning signs can include:
- Sudden numbness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
The signs of a stroke depend on the side of the brain that’s affected, the part of the brain affected, and how severely the brain is injured. Therefore, each person may have different stroke warning signs.
If you or someone you know is having these signs, call 911 and seek medical help immediately.