ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What Does a Stroke Do to Your Body

Updated on April 5, 2015

I would not be wrong in saying that stroke is one of the least understood conditions among other similar life-threatening, life-changing conditions such as heart disease, cancer, etc. The American Heart Association estimates that close to 700,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year. Close to a third of those stroke victims die as a result. That makes stroke one of the leading causes of death, in fact stroke comes in third, only behind heart disease and cancer.


Stroke basically occurs when there is an interruption in the blood flow to the brain and/or other parts of the nervous system. When this happens, the brain is deprived of vital oxygen and nutrients thereby causing brain cells to die. If the symptoms of stroke resolve fully within the first hour, it is referred to as a transient ischemic attack or TIA. While TIAs cause no impairments, they do require to be fully evaluated as patients with TIAs are at risk for a stroke later on.


The most common symptoms of stroke are:

  1. Finding it difficult to talk (slurred speech) or comprehending speech.
  2. Confusion that occurs quite suddenly.
  3. Severe headache - which feels like the worst headache you'd ever had.
  4. Sudden weakness, paralysis, numbness of the arm, leg, face - particularly on one side of the body.
  5. Difficulty with balance, walking and coordination.
  6. If when you stick out your tongue, it is crooked or if it goes to the left or the right instead of straight ahead - that is another sign of a stroke.



There are two main types of strokes, although others exist as well. One is ischemic stroke and the other one is called hemorrhagic stroke.

Ischemic strokes: These are caused by blood clots and usually occur when a blood clot obstructs a blood vessel or artery carrying blood to the brain. The vast majority of strokes are caused by blood clots and therefore are ischemic strokes.

Hemorrhagic strokes: These strokes are caused by bleeding - as in when an artery or blood vessel ruptures causing blood to spill out inside the brain. These kind of strokes happen comparatively less often than the ischemic type, about 15% of the cases.

The other types of strokes are embolic strokes and lacunar strokes.


Typically, anyone can have a stroke. However, there are certain risk factors that can contribute towards a higher stroke risk. These factors are:

  1. Hypertension.
  2. Obesity.
  3. Smoking.
  4. Family history of strokes.
  5. High bad cholesterol (LDL) levels.
  6. Diabetes.
  7. Heart disease.


Stroke is perhaps one of the most debilitating things that could happen to a person. Strokes alter a person's perception of the world around. Things that were learnt over a lifetime (like talking, walking, sensation, movement, etc) are sort of erased and have to be learnt again. Strokes deny people their most basic skills, skills that are second nature to most. The extent of damage done depends on the extent to which the brain has been damaged. Generally, the sooner you get to a stroke victim and the sooner treatment is initiated, the lesser the damage done. The kind of damage also depends on which area of the brain was impacted the most. Strokes can cause paralysis (generally one side of the body), can affect speech, can affect movement, ability to do daily activities, can cause memory impairments, etc. There are just so many consequences of a stroke - it all depends on the severity of the stroke and the damage it has caused the brain.

Treatment & Ways to Identify Stroke


Treatment of stroke depends on the kind of stroke, the location, etc. For ischemic strokes especially, there is a short window of opportunity in most cases. Ischemic strokes can be treated with medications that dissolve clots. TPA or t-PA (tissue plasminogen activator) is one such medication. If TPA is administered within 3 hours of a stroke, it could potentially save a patient from suffering the damaging after effects of stroke. However, TPA is only given selectively because of the risk of bleeding with it. Sometimes, surgical intervention is done to remove the offending clot and clear the artery and restore blood supply to the brain. If surgery is not indicated, aspirin or similar drugs are sometimes used.


The faster you get a stroke victim to the hospital, the greater are his/her chances of making it and making it without any significant damages to his/her speech, walking ability, etc. However, most common folk don't know how to identify the symptoms of stroke. Thus, crucial moments are lost. Those precious minutes and hours could make a huge difference.

I read this somewhere and it makes identifying strokes real easy for common folks.

Remember the first 3 letters of the word "STRoke," i.e. STR

S - Ask the person to smile

T - Ask the person to talk and speak a simple sentence coherently

R - Ask the person to raise both hands above their heads.

If the individual has difficulty in doing any of the above 3 things, call 911 immediately. Remember diagnosing a stroke quickly and getting the person to the hospital ASAP could save lives/prevent a person from suffering long-term effects of stroke.

© 2009 Shil1978


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Karen Hrabec 

      7 years ago

      Hi i had worked has a nurse for many years . Then in 2010 i had a stroke

      I am now still funtioning and going to work. But it has affected my writing and spelling and even though i keep going i get so tired

    • Shil1978 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thank you, lrc7815, for stopping by and commenting. Glad you liked this hub. Yes, education is necessary esp. when it comes to strokes, as one has about a 3-hour window within which the potential long-term harmful effects of stroke can be prevented.

      The sooner one can get a stroke victim to the hospital, the better his/her chances of not suffering any long-lasting debilitating effects from it!! Thanks again for taking the time to comment - appreciate it :)

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 

      8 years ago from Central Virginia

      Great hub! We cannot educate enough on the risk factors and effects of a stroke. Strokes change not only the lives of the person who suffers it, but also the lives of the family caring for them. It is a personal journey that I would wish on no one. Thanks for writing this one.

    • Shil1978 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Sorry to hear about your grandpa, Joe! Am sure he'd recover quite a bit with rehab. Don't lose hope!!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Not reassuring at all for my grandpa :'(

    • profile image

      Dr. Jayashree Joshi 

      11 years ago

      Good information and to the point, for persons who aren't familiar with Strokes.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)