A stroke affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel is either blocked by a clot (blockage) or bursts (bleeding). When a stroke happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs and it starts to die.
Someone who suffers a stroke may have temporary or permanent physical disabilities and communication difficulties. Stroke may also cause emotional and behavioral changes. The family and caregivers of stroke victims will need to be educated about dealing with stroke and its aftermath and may benefit from finding an appropriate support group. Useful and helpful information may be obtained from the American Stroke Association.
The month of May is Stroke Awareness Month. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U. S., behind heart disease and cancer (in 2007, 135,952 people died from stroke in the United States). Stroke is also a leading cause of serious long-term disability. Most strokes occur in people age 65 years or older but strokes can occur at any age (nearly three-quarters of all strokes occur in people age 65 years or older). The chances of having a stroke double each decade after the age of 55. Nonetheless, nearly 25% of strokes occur in people younger than age 65. The CDC has found that stroke hospitalizations have increased for both males and females between the ages of 5 and 44.
About 795,000 strokes occur in the United States each year, of which about 610,000 are first or new strokes. Stroke death rates are higher for African Americans than for whites, even at younger ages. People in the southeastern United States have the highest stroke death rates in the country. People with a family history of stroke are more likely to have a stroke.
You can reduce your risk of having a stroke by taking steps to prevent and control high blood pressure, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, not smoking, and not drinking too much alcohol (more than two drinks per day for men or more than one drink per day for women).
There are 5 major signs of stroke: 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, or loss of balance and coordination; and/or, 5. sudden severe headache with no known cause. If you have one or more of these signs and cannot rule out a stroke, it is imperative that you call 911 and receive appropriate medical attention as soon as possible.
If there was a delayed or misdiagnosis of your stroke, a medical malpractice attorney may be able to help you with your possible medical malpractice claim. Visit our website to find medical malpractice lawyers in your local area who may be able to assist you or call us toll free at 800-295-3959.