Each year in the United States, there are more than 700,000 strokes. Nearly three-quarters of all strokes occur in people over the age of 65 and the risk of having a stroke more than doubles each decade after the age of 55. To help older adults learn more about the signs and symptoms of stroke and the need to act quickly, the National Institutes of Health is adding four new topics on stroke to its NIHSeniorHealth web site: Act Quickly, Warnings Signs and Risk Factors, What Happens during a Stroke, and Treatments and Research. The site features easy-to-read stroke information, developed by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and may be found at www.nihseniorhealth.gov A stroke occurs when normal blood flow to the brain is disrupted. Brain cells die when deprived of oxygen and nutrients provided by blood. Because stroke injures the brain, the person having a stroke may not realize what is happening. But to a bystander the SIGNS OF A STROKE are distinct: -- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body) -- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech -- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes -- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance or coordination -- Sudden severe headache with no known cause

In treating a stroke, every minute counts. New treatments are available that greatly reduce the damage caused by a stroke, but must be delivered quickly after symptoms begin. Knowing the stroke symptoms, calling 911 immediately, and getting to a hospital are critical to preventing long-term disability.

Risk factors for stroke include family history, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, physical inactivity, advancing age, and being overweight.

The NINDS is the nation's primary supporter of biomedical research on the brain and nervous system. It is dedicated to research and education on the causes, treatment, and prevention of stroke. End of NIHPRESS Digest - 22 Aug 2005 to 23 Aug 2005 (#2005-116) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH August 23, 2005

 

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