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May is National Stroke Awareness Month, which makes this a good time to learn more about the signs and risk factors for stroke.
Stroke is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. and a major cause of serious disability for adults. More than 795,000 people in the U.S. have a stroke each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients. Brain cells begin to die in minutes.
A stroke is a medical emergency, and prompt treatment is crucial. Early action can reduce brain damage and other complications. If you or someone you know is experiencing a stroke, you should call 911 and seek emergency medical care right away.
To recognize the signs of stroke, remember the acronym FAST:
Many factors can increase the risk of stroke, including:
Potentially treatable stroke risk factors include lifestyle and medical factors.
Lifestyle risk factors include:
Medical risk factors include:
A stroke can cause temporary or permanent disabilities, depending on how long the brain lacks blood flow and which part was affected. Complications can include paralysis or loss of muscle movement, difficulty talking or swallowing, memory loss or thinking difficulties, emotional problems, pain, and changes in behavior and self-care ability.
Stroke rehabilitation is an important part of recovery after stroke. There are many approaches to stroke rehabilitation. Your rehabilitation plan will depend on the part of the body or type of ability affected by your stroke.
Connect with others talking about stroke and recovery in the Stroke & Cerebrovascular Diseases Support Group on Mayo Clinic Connect, an online patient community moderated by Mayo Clinic.
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