Your brain is the master control center for your body. It directs most of what you do – 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, or problems thinking, feeling or controlling emotions – 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 team, and more.