The warning signs of a heart attack are nearly universally recognized, but the signs of a brain attack, or stroke, may not be familiar to many Americans.
May is National Stroke Awareness Month, a time when national agencies come together to educate the public about the risk factors for stroke, and how to lower those risks.
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is impeded. When the brain loses vital blood and oxygen, even briefly, brain cells begin to die and there is a risk of long-term brain damage.
There are two types of strokes. An ischemic stroke is the most common type of attack and is caused by blocked arteries, either by a blood clot or by the gradual building up of plaque.
Less common is a hemorrhagic stroke, caused by a blood vessel in the brain leaking or bursting altogether. While hemorrhagic strokes are less common, they cause more than 30 percent of all stroke deaths.
For more on this story, see the May 3 issue of the Navarre Press, or subscribe online.