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Understanding Strokes: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe and Healthy

4 minute read

By Ryan Pratt

Even though strokes are a leading cause of death and disability worldwide, many people are not aware of the risk factors and warning signs. Each stroke type has its own causes, symptoms, and treatments.

Knowing the differences between these types of strokes can help you recognize the symptoms. Immediate medical attention is critical in reducing the risk of long-term disability or death. Fortunately, if you start a search online today, you can learn everything you need to know about strokes.


Types Of Strokes

A stroke, also known as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), is a medical emergency that occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. This reduction deprives the brain cells of oxygen and nutrients, resulting in brain damage or even death if not treated promptly.

There are four main types of strokes: ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA), and cryptogenic stroke. 1 Ischemic strokes are caused by a blockage in a blood vessel in the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes, meanwhile, are caused by bleeding in the brain. TIAs (or “mini strokes”) are temporary interruptions of blood flow to the brain. Finally, cryptogenic strokes have no identifiable cause.

Risk Factors

Some of the most common risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking. 2 Each of these factors damages blood vessels and increase the risk of blood clots. High cholesterol, obesity, and lack of exercise also contribute to strokes because plaque can build up in the arteries.

While some factors can be prevented, other ones cannot. A family history of stroke can increase the odds. Likewise, race and ethnicity play a role, as African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans have a higher risk of stroke than Caucasians.

Age and gender contribute as well. The risk of stroke compounds with age, while men are more likely to have a stroke than women. (Granted, women have a higher risk of stroke during pregnancy and in the postmenopausal period.)

It is important to be aware of your risk factors for stroke and to take steps to control any modifiable behaviors. Modifiable factors include quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly. Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider can help identify and manage any risk factors you may have.

Warning Signs

It is important to know the warning signs of a stroke so that you can seek medical attention if you or someone else is experiencing them. The warning signs of a stroke can be remembered with the acronym FAST:

Other warning signs may include sudden severe headache, vision problems, dizziness, loss of coordination, or difficulty swallowing. 3 Always remember: not all strokes show the same symptoms, and some people may not experience any symptoms whatsoever.

Common Diagnostic Methods

There are several diagnostic methods that can be used to diagnose a stroke. The choice of diagnostic method depends on the type of stroke and the specific circumstances of the patient. Here are some of the most common diagnostic methods for strokes:

Prompt diagnosis is critical in treating a stroke, as some treatments are time-sensitive and must be administered within a certain window of time to be effective.

Remember to Act FAST

Strokes are a potentially life-threatening medical emergency that can have long-lasting effects on a person’s quality of life. Knowing the different types of strokes, their warning signs, and risk factors is critical in reducing the risk and improving the chances of recovery.

If you or someone else is experiencing the warning signs of a stroke, seek medical attention immediately. By making lifestyle changes and working with your healthcare provider, you can reduce your risk of stroke and improve your overall health.

Ryan Pratt



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