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


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

Motor control: Ability to control movements of the body.

Neglect: A lack of awareness of actions or objects on the left or

right side of the body, caused by damage to the other

side of the brain. For example, a stroke survivor with

left-side neglect may forget about food on the left side

of the dinner plate.

Neuroprotective agents: Acute stroke interventional drugs which promise to

protect brain cells, interrupting the process of

secondary injury. Most experimental neuroprotectants

must be administered within a six-hour “window of

opportunity” to limit damage during stroke.

Occlusion: Disruption of blood supply in a blood vessel, usually by

a blood clot or atherosclerosis.

Penumbra: An area of brain cells surrounding the initial site of

brain damage from stroke. The brain cells in the

penumbra are threatened by ischemic injury, but not

irreversibly damaged.

Plaque: A deposit of lipids in the inner lining of the artery often

associated with atherosclerosis.

Platelets: A component of blood that sticks together to form a

plug, or clot, when certain substances beneath the

blood vessel lining are exposed to circulating blood.

Prevalence: The total number of individuals with a disease within a

population group (e.g., stroke prevalence in the United

States is 4 million).

Right hemisphere: The right half of the brain. Controls the actions of the

left side of the body.

Secondary injury: Damage or death of brain cells in the larger area surrounding

the infarct. Secondary injury is caused by a

chain reaction of electrical and chemical events.

Because this damage does not occur at the time of

stroke, but in the hours following a stroke, it is

critical to seek immediate medical treatment for stroke.

Spasticity: Abnormally increased tone in a muscle.

Stenosis: Reduction in the size of a vessel or other opening.

Stroke: The sudden interruption of blood flow to a part of the

brain that kills brain cells within the area. As a result,

body functions controlled by the affected area may be

impaired or lost.

Subarachnoid hemorrhage: A stroke caused by bleeding under the thin, delicate

membrane surrounding the brain.

National Stroke Association’s Complete Guide to Stroke


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