A stroke is an injury to the brain caused by decreased blood flow.  This can be caused by bursting of a blood vessel or by a blood clot that blocks a blood vessel.

An ischemic stroke is caused by a blood clot.  These strokes are associated with smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, atrial fibrillation, and high cholesterol.

A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by bursting of a blood vessel.  This is associated with high blood pressure and vascular malformations.

The warning signs of a stroke are numerous.  They may be sudden deficits of numbness, weakness, trouble seeing, trouble walking, or trouble talking.

A TIA is a stroke that lasts less than 24 hours (sometimes it is called a mini stroke).  People with TIA have an increased risk of ischemic stroke and they should be evaluated in the emergency room.

When a stroke occurs, there are special treatments that are used in the ER that help to treat it.  Timing is important, the sooner the treatment is used, the better the outcome.

If you know someone who is having a stroke, call 9-1-1 for emergency help.

Most strokes can be prevented.

It is helpful to:

Control the blood pressure

Be physically active

Control cholesterol

Avoid smoking

Keep weight close to normal (it helps with blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol)