What is a Stroke/Brain Attack? - National Stroke Association


What is a Stroke/Brain Attack? - National Stroke Association

Why Use the Term Brain Attack?

National Stroke Association (NSA) began to champion the term “brain attack” in 1990

because it characterizes stroke more clearly to the public. The origination of the term

and its application to stroke are credited to Vladimir C. Hachinski, M.D., and John

Norris, M.D., both world-renowned neurologists from Canada. The brain is the most

delicate organ in the body. "To give the best chance of limiting damage, brain attacks

should be heeded even more urgently than heart attacks," said Dr. Hachinski.

The symptoms of stroke should have the same alarming significance in identifying a

brain attack that severe, specific chest pain has in identifying a heart attack.

The appropriate response to a brain attack is emergency action, both by the person it

strikes and the medical community.

Brain Attack Means Medical Emergency

Educating the public to treat stroke as a brain attack and to seek emergency treatment

is crucial. Every minute people lose getting treatment increases the chances of them

experiencing stroke-related disabilities or death. The majority of patients don't arrive at

the emergency room until more than 24 hours after they experience stroke symptoms. 1

The only FDA-approved treatment for stroke, a clot-busting drug, must be administered

within three hours of the first signs of stroke.

One of the largest obstacles to emergency treatment is that many people don't know

they are having a stroke. The University of Cincinnati reported that 52 percent of their

acute stroke patients were unaware they were experiencing a stroke. That is why it is

critical for everyone to "Be Stroke Smart" and learn the 3 R's of stroke: Reduce risk,

Recognize symptoms, Respond by calling 911.


Myth Reality

u Stroke is not preventable u Almost 80% of strokes are preventable

u Stroke cannot be treated u Stroke requires emergency treatment

u Strokes only strike the elderly u Strokes can happen to anyone of any age

u Stroke happens to the heart u Stroke occurs in the brain

u Stroke recovery happens for u Stroke recovery can continue throughout life

a few months post-stroke

National Stroke Association’s Complete Guide to Stroke


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