Stroke, also called brain attack, occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted. Disruption in blood flow is caused when either a blood clot or piece of plaque blocks one of the vital blood vessels in the brain (ischemic stroke), or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, spilling blood into surrounding tissues (hemorrhagic stroke).
According to the American Stroke Association’s Guidelines for the Early Management of Adults with Ischemic Stroke – 2007, patients who are admitted to a hospital for acute ischemic stroke should receive aspirin within 48 hours from the onset of symptoms, unless contraindications for receiving aspirin, including, but not limited to, allergy to aspirin or gastrointestinal bleeding, are present. Patients who meet the criteria should continue to receive aspirin on a daily basis (Circulation, 2006; 113: e409-e449).
Stroke symptoms may be sudden and include:
- weakness or numbness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
- confusion or difficulty speaking or understanding
- problems with vision such as dimness or loss of vision in one or both eyes
- dizziness or problems with balance or coordination
- problems with movement or walking
- severe headaches with no other known cause
Be sure to note the time when symptoms first appear and do not wait to seek medical care.