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May is National Stroke Awareness Month

What is a Stroke?

Simply put, a stroke is a “brain attack.”

A stroke can occur when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain bursts or is blocked by a blood clot or another particle. Without oxygen rich blood and nutrients, brain cells in the affected area begin to malfunction and die.

Types of Stroke

There are two types of stroke:

  1. Ischemic Stroke – Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood from the heart throughout the body. When blood cannot reach the brain due to a clot or a buildup of plaque in the artery, an ischemic stroke occurs. About 85% of strokes are ischemic.
  2. Hemorrhagic Stroke – When a blood vessel in the brain breaks and releases blood into the brain, a hemorrhagic stroke occurs. Fewer people suffer hemorrhagic strokes than ischemic, yet the chance of survival after hemorrhagic stroke is lower.


Evaluate your risk for stroke:

  • Know your blood pressure and cholesterol values and ensure they fall within normal range.
  • If you use tobacco products, take steps to quit.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.
  • If you have diabetes, work with your doctor to find the right medication and work on lifestyle changes.
  • Include exercise in your daily routine.
  • Lower the sodium in your diet – see attached handout.
  • Talk to your doctor about your family history and stay current with screening recommendations.

What are the warning signs for stroke?

  • Feeling numb or weak in the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Having trouble seeing.
  • Having a hard time talking or understanding what someone is saying.
  • Feeling dizzy or loss of balance.
  • Onset of a very bad headache with no known cause.

If you suspect someone is having a stroke – call 911 immediately. For additional information on stroke, including the services we offer to diagnosed and treat stroke, visit our website here.

About WakeMed Corporate & Community Health

The Corporate and Community Health division of WakeMed provides worksite wellness and health promotion services to numerous corporate and community clients throughout Wake County. The department is made up of a multi-disciplinary team who perform preventative health screenings, education and coaching upon request. The department assists thousands of people each year on their wellness journey.