Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can you have a stroke at any age?"
Do only old people get strokes? I'm afraid I will one because I am overweight and I smoke cigarettes. I'm only 22 though.
A stroke is just as serious as a heart attack. A stroke is sometimes called a "brain attack." It can injure the brain like a heart attack can injure the heart. Most often, it occurs when blood flow to the brain stops because it is blocked by a clot to cause the brain cells to die due to lack of oxygen and nutrients they need to function. There are two kinds of stroke, ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke. An ischemic stroke is caused by a blood clot that blocks or plugs a blood vessel in the brain while a hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a blood vessel that breaks and bleeds into the brain. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the country. It can occur at any age, although the prevalence increases as age advances. A stroke happens fast. Most people have two or more signs. The most common signs are a sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg (mainly on one side of the body), sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes, sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance, sudden confusion or trouble talking or understanding speech, sudden bad headache with unknown cause. If you are a woman, you may have sudden face and arm or leg pain, sudden hiccups, fatigue, chest pain, and sudden shortness of breath, pounding or racing heartbeat. If you have any of these symptoms that could lead to a stroke, I would suggest a visit with a primary care physician who may order imaging, electrical and/or blood flow tests to confirm.
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