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Stroke

Related Terms

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Background

  • A stroke (or cerebrovascular accident, CVA) is much like what a heart attack is to the heart, but to the brain. A stroke involves the sudden interruption of blood flow and oxygen to areas in the brain and can cause brain damage and loss of function. Stroke develops suddenly, usually in a matter of minutes, and causes symptoms such as paralysis, numbness or weakness often affecting one side of the body, confusion, dizziness, speech problems, and loss of vision. How a stroke patient is affected depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged.
  • There are two main types of strokes: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes are by far the more common type, and occur when a blood clot or plaque (protein, cholesterol, and material) deposit blocks an artery supplying blood to the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when an artery in the brain bursts, causing blood to flow into the surrounding tissue. The mortality rate is higher for hemorrhagic stroke than for ischemic stroke, with most deaths occurring within the first 48 hours of the event.
  • A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a type of stroke that usually lasts only 10 - 20 minutes. TIAs are sometimes considered to be "mini-strokes." While TIAs cause no long-term damage, having a TIA puts an individual at increased risk of acute stroke. Symptoms of TIAs may go unnoticed, and may be confused with other conditions such as epilepsy, migraines, or diabetes.
  • Stroke is a medical emergency. Prompt treatment of a stroke could be the difference between life and death. Early treatment can also minimize damage to the brain and potential disability.
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Types of Stroke

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Risk Factors and Causes

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Signs and Symptoms

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Diagnosis

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Complications

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Treatment

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Integrative Therapies

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Lifestyle Changes and Prevention

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.