Stroke | Overview


What is a stroke?

Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Most strokes happen when an artery that carries blood to the brain becomes blocked. When brain cells that aren’t getting enough blood die, part of the brain is injured.

If you have a stroke, you may lose the ability to do something that is controlled by the injured part of your brain. For example, you could lose the use of an arm or leg, or the ability to speak. The damage can be temporary or permanent. Doctors have found that if you get treatment right away after stroke symptoms start, there is a better chance to get the blood moving to your brain and prevent more damage.


Portions of this article were developed in cooperation with the American Heart Association.

Written by editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 01/15
Created: 09/00