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Interrupted blood supply to the brain (ischemic) or a ruptured blood vessel in the brain (hemorrhagic) is the cause of stroke. When a blood vessel ruptures, the blood spills and surrounds brain cells, depriving them of oxygen. Once deprived of oxygen, the brain cells die. Some of the symptoms of stroke include:
Sudden numbness or weakness, particularly on one side of the body
Trouble speaking or understanding speech
Vision problems in one or both eyes
Dizziness or loss of balance or coordination
Sudden severe headache with no known cause
The treatment for stroke is in stages: stroke prevention, therapy right after the stroke, and rehabilitation. Therapy can prevent a first or recurrent stroke. Treatment is based on each individual's risk factors, including hypertension, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Rehabilitation helps the patient overcome the disabilities caused by the stroke. Drugs are also often used to treat stroke; anticoagulants are common stroke-prevention drugs. Aspirin is often used to try to prevent stroke, as it thins the blood.