The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients in order to function. Even a brief interruption in blood supply can cause problems. Learn more ›

Signs and Symptoms of Stroke

The following are the most common symptoms of stroke. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. If any of these symptoms are present, call 911 (or your local ambulance service) immediately. Treatment is most effective when started immediately.

Symptoms may be sudden and include:

  • weakness or numbness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body

  • confusion or difficulty speaking or understanding

  • problems with vision such as dimness or loss of vision in one or both eyes

  • dizziness or problems with balance or coordination

  • problems with movement or walking

  • severe headaches with no other known cause

Learn more about the symptoms of stroke

Treatment for Stroke

Specific treatment for stroke will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history

  • severity of the stroke

  • location of the stroke

  • cause of the stroke

  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • type of stroke

  • your opinion or preference

Although there is no cure for stroke, advanced medical and surgical treatments are now available, giving many stroke victims hope for optimal recovery.

Treatment is most effective when started immediately. Emergency treatment following a stroke may include the following:

  • medications used to the dissolve blood clot(s) that cause an ischemic stroke
    Medications that dissolve clots are called thrombolytics or fibrinolytics and are commonly known as "clot busters." These drugs have the ability to help reduce the damage to brain cells caused by the stroke. In order to be most effective, these agents must be given within several hours of a stroke's onset.

Learn more about treatment for stroke

Living with Stroke

Strokes occur when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked by a clot or bursts. About 700,000 Americans each year suffer from a stroke. If you have one stroke, you are at a greater risk for having another within the next year.

“Risk factors for stroke build up over years, even decades, to cause changes in blood vessels and the heart that may take years to reverse,” says Bruce H. Dobkin, M.D. Dr. Dobkin is director of both the UCLA Stroke Center and the Neurologic Rehabilitation and Research Program in Los Angeles.

Stroke may cause physical and mental difficulties. These can include near paralysis on one side of the body, difficulty understanding words or speaking, slow thinking, and fatigue.

Learn more about living with stroke

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Did You Know?

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From the list below, which one kills more people in the United States than the others?