A stroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when a part of the brain has been deprived of oxygen rich blood. A stroke can also occur if bleeding in the brain leads to cell damage. The brain cells that are damaged during a stroke will result in symptoms manifesting in the parts of the body controlled by these brain cells. For example, some symptoms that may be present during a stroke include weakness, paralysis of the arms, legs or face as well as difficulty speaking.
Other symptoms of a stroke can include loss of vision, sudden and severe headache or loss of balance. If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of a stroke, it is important to immediately call 9-1-1. Emergency medical attention can often save a life or make a full recovery possible.
Many factors can increase your risk for a stroke -- some are things that you can control, while others are not. For example, age, gender, race and family history can all play a role in your risk for a stroke. These are risk factors beyond your control. However, other factors, that you can control, such as smoking, high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, obesity and excessive use of alcohol can also increase your risk for a stroke.