Stroke: Causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment

Strokes are brain attacks. They occur when the blood supply to the brain becomes blocked. A stroke is a medical emergency that needs immediate medical attention.

Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States. Nearly 800,000 people have a stroke each year. That equates to about one person every 40 seconds.

This MNT Knowledge Center article will explain why strokes occur and how they are treated, as well as exploring the different types and the steps a person can take to prevent a stroke.

Fast facts on stroke:

During a stroke, the brain does not receive enough oxygen or nutrients, causing brain cells to die.

Strokes need to be diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible to minimize brain damage.

Treatment depends on the type of stroke.

The most effective way to prevent strokes is through maintaining a healthy lifestyle and treating underlying conditions that could be a risk factor.

What is a stroke?


A stroke occurs when the supply of blood to the brain is either interrupted or reduced. When this happens, the brain does not get enough oxygen or nutrients, and brain cells start to die.

In the U.S., approximately 40 percent of people who die from stroke are male, with 60 percent of deaths occurring in females.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), compared with Caucasian people, African-Americans have nearly twice the risk of a first-time stroke and a much higher risk of death from stroke.

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As ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes have different causes, both require different forms of treatment.

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