Stroke occurs when not enough blood which carries oxygen throughout the body, gets to the brain. This usually happens because an artery breaks or gets blocked by a blood clot. It may happen suddenly, but often occurs after a slow build-up of fat and calcium in the blood vessels, called “hardening” of the arteries” or atherosclerosis. The physical results depend on what part of the brain is involved, ranging from partial or total paralysis of a limb, to difficulty speaking or loss of memory.


Key Risk Factors
Key Warning Signals
Approaches to Prevention

Key Risk Factors for Stroke:

above 50 years of age
hypertension or high blood pressure
cigarette smoking
high blood cholesterol
family history

Key Warning Signals:

temporary weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg
temporary difficulty or loss of speech
sudden, temporary loss of vision in one eye temporary double vision;
temporary dizziness
temporary change in personality or mental ability.

For any of the above warning signals of stroke, contact a physician at once.

To Help Prevent Stroke:

Control high blood pressure by regular monitoring, and if you are on medication, be sure to take it regularly
Eat healthy (Health Power Tip Sheets No. 1 and 2 have very helpful information)
Exercise regularly
Control diabetes if you have it
Don’t smoke – Want to Quit Smoking? View Health Power’s Smoking Tip Sheet

For more information you can contact the American Stroke Association, Tel. (888) 478-7653. Their web site can be visited directly from our Relevant Resources section.