Glossary of Medical Terms


A stroke is a sudden disruption in blood flow to the brain caused by a blockage or bleeding of a blood vessel. Areas of the brain that are affected by the blockage or bleeding can become damaged within minutes.

The effects of a stroke may be mild or severe and temporary or permanent, depending on which brain cells are damaged, how much of the brain is involved, and how quickly the blood supply is restored to the area.

Symptoms of a stroke happen quickly. A stroke may cause:

  • Sudden numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of movement in your face, arm, or leg, especially on only one side of your body.

  • Sudden vision changes.

  • Sudden trouble speaking.

  • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding simple statements.

  • Sudden problems with walking or balance.

  • A sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches.

A person with stroke symptoms needs immediate medical attention to help limit potential damage. 

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