A stroke always strikes suddenly and does damage very quickly. Knowing the warning signs can save a life. The quicker the reaction, the bigger the chances of recovery. A lot depends on the first few minutes.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke (sometimes called a cerebrovascular accident (CVA or brain attack) happens when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. This leads to almost immediate brain cell death, which can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability and be lethal.
There are two main reasons why strokes happen:
- Something is blocking the blood supply (for example, a blood clot or plaque). Oxygen and nutrients cannot get to the brain, causing almost immediate damage. This is called an ischemic stroke.
- A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a blood vessel that breaks and bleeds into the brain.