Each year, approximately 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke. A stroke, or brain attack, happens when a blood vessel supplying the brain is either blocked or bursts open. It’s an emergency situation so acting fast is critical — immediately call 911 if you think you or a loved one is having a stroke or symptoms of a stroke. The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients to function well, so if the blood supply is altered for even a short time, permanent injury can occur.
There are two kinds of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic.
This is the most common type of stroke and occurs when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked from either a blood clot or a buildup of fatty deposits and cholesterol. This buildup is called plaque. Chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and atrial fibrillation, are the main risk factors for this type of stroke.
This occurs when a blood vessel in or around your brain bursts, spilling blood into nearby tissues. With this type of stroke, pressure builds up in the nearby brain tissue, which causes damage and irritation. This is a less common type of stroke, as only about 13 in 100 strokes are this type, but is usually more severe than ischemic stroke. The most common causes for this type of stroke are high blood pressure, aneurysms and blood thinners.
When every second counts, know FAST — and act fast — to protect your brain.
Symptoms of a stroke typically appear as face drooping, arm weakness and slurred speech, among other symptoms. Timing is critical: There is a small window of time to treat strokes.
Know the signs:
- F - Face drooping
- A - Arm weakness
- S - Speech difficulty
- T - Time to call 911
Top risk factors for stroke that can be controlled may include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease or abnormal heart rhythm
- Lack of exercise
Top risk factors for stroke that can’t be controlled:
- Old age
- Heredity or genetics
- History of prior stroke
Find expert stroke care and treatment at UW Medicine
UW Medicine’s Stroke Centers of excellence at Harborview Medical Center (Comprehensive Stroke Center), Valley Medical Center (Thrombectomy Capable Stroke Center) and UW Medical Center - Northwest (Primary Stroke Center) are certified by The Joint Commission. They bring expertise in stroke care close to home, where it matters most.
At our stroke centers, we care for patients who have suffered a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) or who are at risk for stroke or TIA. We focus on emergency care for acute stroke, including thrombectomy procedures, which can improve recovery from an ischemic stroke, especially if performed as soon as possible after the stroke happens. This is a procedure to remove a blood clot from a blood vessel to help blood to flow normally again. Our approach to stroke prevention includes identifying and controlling stroke risk factors and following up with treatment options. We also offer a comprehensive rehabilitation program.
Treatment is most effective when started right away. Our emergency treatments and procedures after a stroke may include:
- Clot-busting medicines (thrombolytics or fibrinolytics)
- Medicines and therapy to reduce or control brain swelling
- Neuroprotective medicines
- Life-support measures
Find expert stroke care at:
Harborview Medical Center
located at Ninth & Jefferson Building, 908 Jefferson St., 5th Floor, Seattle, WA 98104
Harborview Medical Center
Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabiliation Program
located in the Norm Maleng Building at 410 9th Ave., 4th Floor, Seattle, WA 98104
Valley Medical Center
located at Northwest Pavilion, 400 S. 43rd St., Renton, WA 98058
UW Medicine Stroke Club — A Virtual Stroke Support Group
This monthly support group is for stroke survivors, their family members and caregivers. It is designed to lay the foundation for recovery and transition into life after a stroke. Learn from UW Medicine stroke care team members about risk factors, social resources and life after discharge.
This is a recurring meeting every second Tuesday of the month:
2021 Dates & Times for Stroke Club
2nd Tuesday of every month
May 11: 6 p.m.
June 8: noon
July 13: 6 p.m.
Sep. 14: 6 p.m.
Oct. 12: noon
Nov. 9: 6 p.m.
Dec. 14: noon
Join the Zoom meeting instructions: Virtual Stroke Club w Zoom instructions.pdf - Google Drive
Meeting ID: 96968133718