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About Heart Disease


A stroke occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is interrupted causing death of brain cells. The most common type of stroke is called an ischemic stroke and is caused by a blood clot or plaque buildup in an artery that supplies blood to the brain.

  • stroke is the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • stroke is the leading cause of serious long term disability
  • about 795,000 strokes occur yearly in the US.
  • strokes can and do occur at any age with about 25% of strokes occurring in people less than age 65
  • the Southeastern region has the highest stroke mortality rates in the U.S.
Warning Signs and Symptoms

An ischemic stroke often occurs without any warning signs or symptoms. Symptoms can occur intermittently and resolve quickly, which is an event called a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) or mini-stroke. Warning signs of an impending stroke can include:

  • sudden loss of or slurring of speech
  • weakness or numbness of the arms, legs, or face
  • confusion
  • visual changes
  • sudden, severe headache, dizziness, loss of balance, or gait disturbances

Many strokes are caused by atherosclerosis or “hardening of the arteries “, a disease which can begin at a young age and progress throughout life. Factors associated with an increased risk of stroke include:

  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol levels
  • diabetes
  • tobacco use
  • obesity
  • physical inactivity
  • age
  • male gender

A person can reduce their risk of stroke by lifestyle and behavioral changes such as controlling blood pressure, stopping smoking, eating healthy and exercising regularly.


Once symptoms of stroke occur the diagnosis is made by physical exam and a variety of tests including CT Scans and MRI scans. SafeHeart Health Screens’ non-invasive tests can help you assess your risk for stroke.