beyond the video

Stroke - What It Is

A clinical look at what a stroke is and the importance of time in dealing with it.



The first physician in this video describes the function of the blood vessels as a series of pipes that bring oxygen and other nutrients to the brain. When a stroke occurs, one of two things happens to disrupt this flow: either a pipe bursts, sending blood to places it isn't meant to go, or – far more commonly – a pipe clogs and blood flow is blocked.

The symptoms of a stroke involve some combination of the following:

  • Numbness, weakness or tingling, usually on only one side of the body, and chiefly affecting the face, arm and/or leg
  • Language difficulties, which may include the inability to understand others or slurred speech
  • Trouble walking or a disruption of coordination, loss of balance
  • Loss of vision

When a person exhibits signs of a stroke, it is imperative to call 911 immediately, because treatment has the best chance of success when started as soon after a stroke begins as possible (within three hours), and because the treatment for a clogged blood vessel is the opposite of treatment for a burst blood vessel, a physician's evaluation is imperative.

The chief means of preventing strokes are:

  • Live a healthy lifestyle
  • Keep your weight down
  • Exercise
  • Control your blood pressure (High blood pressure is the #1 risk factor for a stroke)
  • Control your cholesterol

Applying the video to your own situation

  • Did you know there were two kinds of stroke with opposite treatments?
  • Did you know that you should call 911 immediately if someone appears to be having a stroke because the sooner treatment is begun, the more likely it is that it will be helpful?
  • Think about what you are doing to live a healthy lifestyle as a means of avoiding a stroke (and various other diseases).What else could you be doing?

Adapted from: Stroke: Conversations and Explanations; University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston Center of Aging, Houston, TX

For More on Full Video: www.terranova.org

Beyond the Video

When a stroke occurs, one of two things happens to disrupt this flow: either a pipe bursts, sending blood to places it isn't meant to go, or - far more commonly - a pipe clogs and blood flow is blocked.