WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - A stroke is similar to a heart attack except the damage occurs inside your head. During a stroke, blood flow is blocked from the brain. Without fresh oxygen carried by the blood, your brain cells become damaged and can die.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), strokes kill more than 130,000 Americans every year and is “a leading cause of serious long-term disability.”
Damage to your body can be mild to severe and may be temporary or permanent. The extent of the damage depends on how long it takes to restore blood flow to the affected brain cells.
After a stroke, you may experience muscle weakness, even paralysis. There can also be problems with speech, vision and memory.
The health of your blood vessels and heart affect your chances for a stroke. Lifestyle habits like smoking can increase your risk for a blood clot or damaged blood vessels.
There are also other risk factors that you cannot stop such as aging. As you have more birthdays, your blood pressure naturally tends to go up. But according to Harvard Health Publications, it's a myth to think "It's okay to have higher blood pressure when you're older."
High blood pressure is a sign that your blood vessels are being overworked. Therefore, you are more at risk for a stroke.
So get your blood pressure checked regularly by a medical professional who can determine if you are in danger.
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While strokes are more common in older adults, the CDC reports strokes may be rising in younger adults. In 2009, 34 percent of people hospitalized for stroke were less than 65 years old, according to the CDC.
FIND OUT YOUR RISK
See the risk factors for a stroke by using the hints below. Click on the image to get each answer.
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