Information about Strokes What is a Stroke? A stroke is a type of cardiovascular disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it starts to die. A stroke is a life-threatening emergency. Stroke Symptoms Act FAST at these common signs of a stroke: Face: Does the face look uneven? Ask the person to smile. Arm: Does one arm drift down? Ask the person to raise both arms. Speech: Does their speech sound strange? Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Time: If you observe any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately. The multidisciplinary Stroke Team at the WVU Stroke Center is equipped to treat stroke patients and to identify stroke symptoms as quickly as possible. The WVU Healthcare Emergency Department has implemented an Acute Stroke Protocol to ensure the rapid evaluation and treatment of patients who are potential candidates for this stroke treatment. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the stroke symptoms, seek qualified help immediately. Stroke Facts Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. 750,000 Americans suffer strokes each year Approximately 55,000 more women than men have a stroke each year Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability Many strokes are preventable Types of Strokes Hemorrhagic Stroke: A disruption in blood flow to the brain due to a sudden rupture of a blood vessel within the brain. Ischemic Stroke: A sudden decrease in blood flow and oxygen delivery to a portion of the brain caused by a blood clot or a gradual build up of plaque and other fatty deposits, which results in death or injury to brain cells. Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA): A sudden, temporary decrease in blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain that results in stroke symptoms that fade within an hour.