There are two types of strokes: Ischemic strokes are caused by a clot, and they’re the most common, accounting for 87 percent of all strokes. Hemorrhagic strokes are exactly what the name implies—they’re caused by a hemorrhage (bleeding) into the brain after a blood vessel breaks, an event called an aneurysm. And it’s not an old person’s disorder; 34 percent of strokes happen to people under 65.
Probably the most important point to know about a stroke is that you have to act fast and call 911 immediately. Brain cells will die within minutes, and if you don’t get help right away, the neurological damage could be permanent. It’s a true life-and-death situation, and you need to recognize the symptoms:
- Sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arm or leg, especially on one side
- A sudden, severe headache
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or inability to understand what you’re saying
- Suddenly can’t see with one or both eyes
- Sudden problem with walking, coordination, dizziness or balance.