Stroke

Understand how to prevent stroke and recognize its signs.

JoAnne M. Foody, MD, FACC, CardioSmart Editor-in-Chief
Learn about Stroke

Your brain is the master control center for your body. It directs most of what you do—speedily orchestrating your movements, emotions and ability to think, talk and learn. To do this, your brain needs a steady supply of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood. That’s why if you suffer a stroke—when blood flow to the brain is cut off—brain cells can die very quickly. Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in adults. According to the American Stroke Association, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds in the United States.

If you’ve had a stroke, your recovery will depend on a number of factors, including how badly your brain was damaged and how quickly you get medical care. Some strokes are mild, while others can be severe. In the worst case scenario, a stroke can lead to paralysis (being unable to move parts of the body), loss of speech, problems thinking or feeling or controlling emotions, or even death. The good news is that more people are surviving strokes than ever before thanks to advances in treatments and rehabilitation. 

If you have survived a stroke, there are many things you can do to regain lost function. You can also prevent another stroke from happening by focusing on lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol, not smoking, and staying active. If you have, or are at high risk for, heart disease or stroke, you need to know the warning signs. It could save your life.

Use this condition center to learn more about stroke, create a list of questions to ask your health care provider, and much more.

Stroke News & Events

Study Questions Strict Sodium Guidelines for Older Adults

Jan 28, 2015

Reducing sodium intake to less than 1,500 mg a day may be excessive for older adults.

Study Disputes Use of Blood Thinners in Younger AFib Patients

Jan 28, 2015

The risks associated with blood thinners may outweigh the benefits in younger atrial fibrillation patients with low stroke risk.

Ability to Process Nicotine Linked to Efficacy of Patch vs. Pill

Jan 26, 2015
How quickly smokers metabolize nicotine may impact whether the nicotine patch or Chantix works best, finds study.

Experts Emphasize the Importance of Cardiac Rehabilitation

Jan 26, 2015
Despite its value and importance, cardiac rehab is vastly underutilized by patients.
CardioSmart News

Physician Sleep Deprivation Has No Significant Effect on Angioplasty Outcomes

Jan 20, 2015
According to a new study, patients undergoing angioplasty performed by a sleep-deprived doctor fared about the same as those whose doctor was rested.

New Report Conveys Global Impact of Heart Disease and Stroke

Jan 16, 2015
Heart disease remains the No. 1 global cause of death, according to updated statistics.

Report Raises Awareness for Health Effects of Air Pollution

Dec 23, 2014
A thorough review of studies highlights the negative impact of air pollution on heart health.

Daily Aspirin Fails to Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Older Adults Free of Heart Disease

Dec 23, 2014
A large Japanese study finds no association between once-daily, low-dose aspirin and risk for heart attack, stroke or death in older adults.
CardioSmart News

New Plaque Test Helps Identify High-Risk Heart Patients

Dec 15, 2014
Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) helps identify heart disease patients at increased risk for heart attack and stroke, finds study.

Asian Americans Face Greater Risk for Stroke and Hypertension

Dec 08, 2014
Asian Americans face higher risk for stroke and hypertension compared to whites, finds study.

Keeping Added Calories in Check: Sugars and Sweeteners

Dec 03, 2014
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Americans today consume nearly 20% more added sugar in their daily diet than they did 40 years ago.

New Drug Combination Improves Outcomes for Patients at High Risk for Heart Attack, Stroke

Nov 20, 2014
Adding the non-statin agent, ezetimibe, to traditional cholesterol-lowering therapy reduces risk in patients with acute coronary syndrome.

Risks and Benefits of Extending Drug Treatment After Stent

Nov 20, 2014
Lengthening anti-clotting treatment after stent implantation may prevent heart attacks but increases risk of bleeding, finds new study.

Head-to-Head Comparison of Big-Name diets

Nov 19, 2014
No single big-name diet is superior when it comes to long-term weight loss, finds study.

Exposure to Secondhand Smoke Overlooked in Heart Patients

Nov 18, 2014
Secondhand smoke worsens outcomes for patients living with heart disease, but is often overlooked.

Texting Program Saves Lives of Stroke Patients

Nov 13, 2014
A simple texting program helped ensure that stroke patients received the best-possible treatment upon reaching the hospital.

Lupus Linked to Congenital Heart Defects

Nov 13, 2014
Study finds that women with lupus are almost 3 times more likely to have a child with a congenital heart defect.

New Guidelines for Stroke Prevention

Nov 07, 2014
There are many steps we can take to help prevent a first stroke, according to a recent statement on primary prevention.

Study Reveals Paradox of Cigarette Sales in Pharmacies

Oct 31, 2014
Patients at risk of smoking-related diseases often purchase cigarettes at the same pharmacy used to fill prescription medications.

Healthy Fats Lower Cholesterol, Despite Weight Gain

Oct 23, 2014
Healthy fats help offset the negative impact of weight gain on heart health, finds a recent study.

Rapid Weight Loss is Not So Bad, After All

Oct 23, 2014
Gradual vs. rapid weight loss has little impact on long-term weight control.

Keeping Radiation to a Minimum for Heart Patients

Oct 10, 2014
With radiation exposure a hot topic in recent years, here are strategies for enhancing radiation safety in heart imaging.

Childhood Risk Factors Have Lifelong Impact on Heart Health

Oct 10, 2014
Weight and blood pressure during childhood have a long-lasting impact on heart function later in life.

Obesity Rates Plateau in U.S., but Waistlines Continue to Expand

Sep 24, 2014
More than half of American adults have abdominal obesity, according to national trends from the last decade.

Do You Know Your Heart-Health ABC's?

Sep 24, 2014
Improving heart health just got a little bit simpler, thanks to the ABC’s of heart disease prevention.

Get CardioSmart

You're Invited