Stroke : Description



A stroke is characterized by a sudden loss of brain function due to an interruption of blood flow to the brain after an ischemic stroke (caused by the formation of a blood clot) or cerebrovascular bleeding (caused by the rupture of a vessel and subsequent bleeding into or around the brain).

The interruption of blood flow to the brain causes the destruction of nerve cells (neurons). The effects of a stroke vary depending on the part of the brain that was injured and extent of damage that results. About 80% of strokes are ischemic and 20% are hemorrhagic.

Stroke is a leading cause of disability globally and in Canada, approximately 300,000 people live with the consequences of a stroke. It is also the third leading cause of death in the country. Approximately 60% of people who have a stroke are dealing with a form of impairment such as paralysis, sensory loss, memory lapses, speech disorders and sight while some people may also suffer a depression or other emotional problems.

It is possible to minimize the risk of stroke by modifying risk factors, by using drugs and, in certain circumstances, surgery.

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