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 this happens, part of the brain doesn’t get enough blood and can become damaged. You may lose control of a function that is controlled by that part of the 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, partial or complete. Doctors have found that if you get treatment right away after symptoms start, there is a better chance of getting the blood moving to your brain, and less chance of damage.
Portions of this article were developed in cooperation with the American Heart Association.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff