Table of Contents
What is Stroke?Is there any treatment?What is the prognosis?What research is being done?Clinical TrialsOrganizationsRelated NINDS Publications and InformationPublicaciones en EspañolAdditional resources from MEDLINEplus
What is Stroke?
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly interrupted or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, spilling blood into the spaces surrounding brain cells. Brain cells die when they no longer receive oxygen and nutrients from the blood or there is sudden bleeding into or around the brain. The symptoms of a stroke include sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble with walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination; or sudden severe headache with no known cause. There are two forms of stroke: ischemic - blockage of a blood vessel supplying the brain, and hemorrhagic - bleeding into or around the brain.
Is there any treatment?
Generally there are three treatment stages for stroke: prevention, therapy immediately after the stroke, and post-stroke rehabilitation. Therapies to prevent a first or recurrent stroke are based on treating an individual's underlying risk factors for stroke, such as hypertension, atrial fibrillation, and diabetes. Acute stroke therapies try to stop a stroke while it is happening by quickly dissolving the blood clot causing an ischemic stroke or by stopping the bleeding of a hemorrhagic stroke. Post-stroke rehabilitation helps individuals overcome disabilities that result from stroke damage. Medication or drug therapy is the most common treatment for stroke. The most popular classes of drugs used to prevent or treat stroke are antithrombotics (antiplatelet agents and anticoagulants) and thrombolytics.What is the prognosis?
Although stroke is a disease of the brain, it can affect the entire body. A common disability that results from stroke is complete paralysis on one side of the body, called hemiplegia. A related disability that is not as debilitating as paralysis is one-sided weakness or hemiparesis. Stroke may cause problems with thinking, awareness, attention, learning, judgment, and memory. Stroke survivors often have problems understanding or forming speech. A stroke can lead to emotional problems. Stroke patients may have difficulty controlling their emotions or may express inappropriate emotions. Many stroke patients experience depression. Stroke survivors may also have numbness or strange sensations. The pain is often worse in the hands and feet and is made worse by movement and temperature changes, especially cold temperatures.
Recurrent stroke is frequent; about 25 percent of people who recover from their first stroke will have another stroke within 5 years.
What research is being done?
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) conducts stroke research and clinical trials at its laboratories and clinics at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and through grants to major medical institutions across the country. Currently, NINDS researchers are studying the mechanisms of stroke risk factors and the process of brain damage that results from stroke. Basic research has also focused on the genetics of stroke and stroke risk factors. Scientists are working to develop new and better ways to help the brain repair itself to restore important functions. New advances in imaging and rehabilitation have shown that the brain can compensate for function lost as a result of stroke.
NIH Patient Recruitment for Stroke Clinical Trials
* At NIH Clinical Center
* Throughout the U.S. and Worldwide
American Stroke Association: A Division of American Heart Association7272 Greenville AvenueDallas, TX email@example.com://www.strokeassociation.orgTel: 1-888-4STROKE (478-7653)Fax: 214-706-5231
Brain Aneurysm Foundation269 Hanover Street, Building 3Hanover, MA firstname.lastname@example.org://www.bafound.orgTel: 781-826-5556 888-BRAIN02 (272-4602)
Brain Attack Coalition31 Center DriveRoom 8A07Bethesda, MD 20892-2540http://www.stroke-site.orgTel: 301-496-5751Fax: 301-402-2186
National Stroke Association9707 East Easter LaneSuite BCentennial, CO email@example.com://www.stroke.orgTel: 303-649-9299 800-STROKES (787-6537)Fax: 303-649-1328
Stroke Clubs International805 12th StreetGalveston, TX firstname.lastname@example.orgTel: 409-762-1022
National Aphasia Association350 Seventh Ave.Suite 902New York, NY email@example.com://www.aphasia.orgTel: 212-267-2814 800-922-4NAA (4622)Fax: 212-267-2812
Children's Hemiplegia and Stroke Assocn. (CHASA)4101 West Green Oaks Blvd., Ste. 305PMB 149Arlington, TX firstname.lastname@example.org://www.hemi-kids.orgTel: 817-492-4325
Hazel K. Goddess Fund for Stroke Research in Women785 Park AvenueNew York, NY email@example.com://www.thegoddessfund.orgTel: 212-713-6789Fax: 212-698-5629
Heart Rhythm Foundation1400 K Street, NWSuite 500Washington, DC firstname.lastname@example.org://www.heartrhythmfoundation.orgTel: 202-464-3404Fax: 202-464-3405
American Health Assistance Foundation22512 Gateway Center DriveClarksburg, MD email@example.com/alzheimers/Tel: 301-948-3244 800-437-AHAF (2423)Fax: 301-258-9454
Related NINDS Publications and Information
* What You Need to Know About Stroke Stroke publication education booklet
* Stroke: Hope Through Research An informational booklet about stroke compiled by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
*Stroke Risk Factors and Symptoms A short document describing stroke risk factors and symptoms.
*Know Stroke. Know the Signs. Act in Time. Stroke publication education booklet
*Post-Stroke Rehabilitation Fact Sheet Post-stroke rehabilitation fact sheet from NINDS, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
*Stroke Rehabilitation Information A fact sheet on stroke rehabilitation.
*Brain Basics: Preventing Stroke Information on preventing stroke, including stroke risk factors and warning signs, compiled by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
*Questions and Answers About Stroke A backgrounder with questions and answers about stroke.
*NINDS Transient Ischemic Attack Information Page Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) information sheet compiled by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
*NINDS Multi-Infarct Dementia Information Page Multi-infarct dementia information sheet compiled by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
*Neurological Diagnostic Tests and Procedures Fact sheet on neurological diagnosis and testing, prepared by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
*Stroke Scales and Related Information Referral page to the Brain Attack Coalition "Acute Stroke Toolbox" site for the NIH Stroke Scale, stroke admission orders, and other items for clinicians treating acute stroke.
*Questions and Answers About Carotid Endarterectomy A backgrounder with questions and answers about carotid endarterectomy.
*Stroke Information for Seniors Added to the NIH Senior Health Web Site
2005 press release on addition of NINDS stroke information to the NIH Senior Health website.
*TROY: A Newly Identified Stop Signal in the Pathway for Nerve Regeneration
NINDS news article on discovery of a protein that inhibits nerve regeneration and may be a target for treating spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, and other neurological disorders.
*Ultrasound-aided Therapy Better Than Stroke Drug Alone, Trial Finds
November 2004 Press Release about results from a study which show using ultrasound in combination with the drug t-PA may improve response to an ischemic stroke.
*Brain Imaging May Identify High Risk Stroke Patients October 2004 news summary on a National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) study using imaging of early changes in the blood-brain barrier to predict a stroke patient's outcome.
*Early Treatment Confirmed as Key to Stroke Recovery March 2004 press release on a study which reconfirmed the benefits of rapid treatment for stroke using t-PA
*Preconditioning the brain may protect against stroke A December 2003 news article on genetic changes to protect the brain against a second larger stroke, prepared by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
*Aspirin as Effective as Ticlopidine in African American Antiplatelet Stroke Prevention Study June 2003 press release on results from the African American Antiplatelet Stroke Prevention Study of aspirin and ticlopidine.
*Vaccine Prevents Stroke in Rats September 2002 press release on an experimental stroke vaccine developed by researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
*Rewiring the Brain: A Natural Chemical Improves Motor Skills After Stroke
August 2002 news summary on an animal study of a potential treatment for stroke.
*Another Reason to Avoid a Sugar High: Study Links High Blood Sugar to Mortality After Stroke
August 2002 news summary on hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and stroke.
*Stroke Risk Assessment and Future Stroke Primary Prevention Trial: Workshop Summary *Priorities for Clinical Research in the Treatment of Acute, non-Traumatic Intracerebral Hemorrhage Workshop *Improving the Chain of Recovery for Acute Stroke in Your Community: Table of Contents
Summary of a December 2002 symposium, "Improving the Chain of Recovery for Acute Stroke in Your Community, sponsored by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
*Report of the Stroke Progress Review Group
April 2002 report from a collaborative effort of scientists, clinicians, industry representatives, and patient advocates charged by NINDS with the task of setting overall priorities for stroke research
*NINDS Stroke Disparities Advisory Panel Meeting *2002 Stroke Testimony
NINDS opening statement to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, June 6, 2002.
*Workshop on Perinatal and Childhood Stroke
Report of the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Workshop on Perinatal and Childhood Stroke, held September 18 - 19, 2000.
*Proceedings of a National Symposium on Rapid Identification and Treatment of Acute Stroke held December 12-13, 1996, to coordinate nationwide efforts aimed at implementing acute stroke therapy for all types of stroke
Publicaciones en Español
* La Rehabilitación después de una Apoplejía
* Apoplejía : Factores de Riesgo y Síntomas
* Cómo Prevenir un Accidente Cerebrovascular
* Conozca qué son los Ataques o Derrames Cerebrales. Conozca las señales.
* Accidente Cerebrovascular: Esperanza en la Investigación
Prepared by:Office of Communications and Public LiaisonNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeNational Institutes of HealthBethesda, MD 20892
NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient's medical history.
All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.
Last updated December 09, 2008
PLEASE USE THE GOOGLE SEARCH BOX BELOW TO GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT STROKE AND HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY.
Alternative treatments for stroke victims
It is extremely important to get immediate treatment after a stroke. Nutritional therapies are necessary to rebuild the blood vessel walls that have weakened. There are many herbal supplements specific for the blood vessels in the brain associated with strokes. These include: horse chestnut, feverfew, ginkgo biloba and butcher's broom. Blood pressure should be checked frequently to be sure it is not elevated. Fish Oil supplements (3 grams daily) can help with blood pressure control, as well as, garlic, grapefruit and celery. Any of these therapies should be discussed with a health care professional.
A very important treatment option for stroke victims is HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY. It is similar to what scuba divers use when suffering from the "bends" that occurs when the diver returns to the surface too quickly and gasses develop in the divers blood vessels. This treatment cures the "bends" and has shown very good results with stroke victims, as well.