Each year, more than 795,000 people in the United States will suffer a stroke. Timely medical care and ongoing treatment greatly increase your chances of surviving and thriving after a stroke.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke is caused when an obstruction such as a blood clot limits or blocks your brain’s blood supply. Without the oxygen and nutrient it receives through the bloodstream, brain cells can die within minutes. Emergency care is critical for receiving the medical care needed to survive a stroke and manage its effects.

Roughly 80% of strokes are ischemic, caused by a blood clot that blocks a blood vessel in the brain. Clots can originate in the brain or travel from another part of your body, becoming lodged in the smaller blood vessels in the brain.

Some strokes are caused by stenosis, a condition where fatty deposits known as plaques accumulate on the walls of a blood vessel, narrowing them and acting as a clot.

Other strokes, known as hemorrhagic strokes, result from burst blood vessels in the brain. These are usually caused by high blood pressure, overuse of blood thinners or aneurysms.

Your chances of having a stroke can be increased due to a family history of stroke or heart disease, being overweight, tobacco use and high blood pressure. Likewise, you can reduce your risk of having a stroke with simple but impactful lifestyle changes, like monitoring your cholesterol and staying active.

What Are the Symptoms?

Every moment counts when it comes to a stroke; the acronym FAST can help you remember and identify the primary symptoms of a stroke:

  • F – face drooping
  • A – arm weakness
  • S – speech difficulty
  • T – time to call 911

Strokes may also cause a sudden, severe headache, dizziness and altered consciousness. They may also result in blurred or darkened vision affecting one or both eyes and a loss of balance or coordination.

Do you know the difference between a stroke and a seizure? Find out in our Stroke vs. Seizure blog and make sure you are prepared to act FAST in an emergency.

How Is It Treated?

If you or someone you know may be experiencing a stroke, call 911 immediately or go to the nearest emergency room. Our team of neurologists combines procedures to improve brain and circulatory health with rehabilitation services to aid in stroke recovery and reduce your risk of future strokes.


What does the medical abbreviation ECVA stand for?

E.C.V.A. is not a commonly used abbreviation in the context of stroke. However, CVA medical abbreviation stands for “Cerebrovascular Accident,” which is the medical term for a stroke.

Can you die from a stroke?

Yes, a stroke is a serious medical condition. It can be fatal, especially if not treated promptly. Immediate medical attention is crucial when someone shows pre-stroke symptoms.

What are the warning signs of a stroke?

The warning signs of a stroke can be remembered with the acronym FAST:

F: Face drooping (often evident in face stroke images)
A: Arm weakness
S: Speech difficulty
T: Time to call emergency services

Other symptoms can include sudden confusion, trouble seeing, difficulty walking, and severe headache.

Can you prevent strokes?

While you cannot eliminate the risk entirely, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, managing underlying health conditions, and avoiding smoking can significantly reduce the chances of having a stroke.

Can you have a stroke and not know it?

Yes. Some strokes, called silent strokes, can occur without noticeable symptoms. However, they can still cause damage, which is why it’s essential to know the signs of a silent stroke, such as unexplained mood changes or difficulty in thinking and remembering.

Will an old stroke show up on an MRI?

Yes. An MRI is sensitive and can detect changes in the brain tissue caused by both recent and older strokes, such as areas of cerebral infarction.

What are signs of a silent stroke?

Silent strokes often do not have obvious symptoms. Still, over time, they might manifest as subtle changes in cognitive abilities, mood changes, and slight coordination problems.

Are strokes hereditary?

While certain genetic factors might increase stroke risk, having a family member who had a stroke doesn’t guarantee one will have it. However, it’s essential to be vigilant about risk factors and maintain regular health check-ups.

Why do they say you smell toast when having a stroke?

The idea that people smell toast during a stroke is a myth. While some strokes might affect the areas of the brain responsible for sensory perception, there’s no specific scent associated with strokes.

What is the difference between ischemic strokes and hemorrhagic strokes?

These represent two primary types of strokes. An ischemic stroke is caused by a blockage in an artery leading to the brain, resulting in a lack of blood flow, often due to a clot. A hemorrhagic stroke, on the other hand, is caused by bleeding in or around the brain, often due to a ruptured blood vessel.