1. A sudden loss of neurological function,caused by vascular injury (loss of bloodflow) to an area of the brain. Stroke isboth common and deadly: about 700,000strokes occur in the U.S. each year.Stroke is the third leading cause of deathin the U.S. Because of the long-termdisability it often produces, stroke is thedisease most feared by older Americans.In the U.S., 80% of strokes are causedby cerebral infarction (i.e., blockage of thecarotid or intracerebral arteries by clot oratherosclerosis); intracranial hemorrhageand cerebral emboli are responsible formost other strokes. Innovations in themanagement of stroke (e.g., inprevention, the early use of thrombolyticdrugs, vascular ultrasonography, andendarterectomy) have revolutionized theacute and follow-up care of the strokepatient. Synonym: apoplexy; attack, brain; cerebrovascular accident See:carotid endarterectomy; intracranial hemorrhage; transient ischemic attack; illustration; table
Risk factors for stroke include advancedage (esp. older than 65 years),atherosclerosis of the aortic arch, atrialfibrillation, carotid artery disease,cigarette use, excessive alcohol use(more than 5 drinks daily), heart failure,hyperlipidemia, hypertension, a history ofmyocardial infarction, diabetes mellitus,male gender, close relation of someonewho has had a stroke, nonwhite race,peripheral vascular disease, physicalinactivity, obesity, using combinationhormonal contraception (the pill, ring,patch), being pregnant or immediatelypostpartum, or a recent transientischemic attack.