June 2, 2014

Are you at risk for stroke?

COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Stroke remains the fourth leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability in the United States according to the American Stroke Association (ASA). The ASA estimates that a stroke occurs approximately every 40 seconds and claims more than 137,000 lives each year. Maury Regional Medical Center (MRMC) has some important information to share about strokes.


What Are The Causes Of Stroke?

A stroke can be caused either by a blood clot obstructing the flow of blood to the brain or by a blood vessel rupturing and preventing blood flow to the brain. When either happens, part of the brain begins to die from lack of blood and oxygen. Depending upon where the problem occurs and how much of the brain has been affected, the effects of the stroke will vary. The chances of having a stroke increase with age and are more common among men, anyone with a family history of the disease and African-Americans. Anyone with a prior history of stroke, heart attack, or a history of atrial fibrillation (rapid, irregular heartbeat) is also at increased risk.

Know the Warning Signs

Learning more about the signs of a stroke and acting quickly when they occur can reduce one’s chances of serious outcomes. Indications of a stroke usually develop suddenly and include: 

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Confusion or trouble speaking
  • Vision problems in one or both eyes
  • Loss of balance, trouble walking and dizziness
  • Sudden onset of a severe headache, unlike any previous headache

“Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is the leading cause of stroke. It is also the most important controllable risk factor. To help prevent stroke, monitor your blood pressure and maintain regular follow- up appointments with your primary care provider. Not smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and keeping your cholesterol levels and blood pressure within a healthy range are the most controllable risk factors for stroke,” said Elizabeth Null Clark, M.D., a neurology specialist on the MRMC medical staff.

For more information about stroke, visit