So, What Exactly is a Stroke?

I wondered the same thing. Before my stroke, I knew nothing of the cause and effect, only that it happened to older, infirm persons. Boy, was I wrong.

According to the U.S. National Laboratory of Medicine, “a stroke occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain stops. A stroke is sometimes called a ‘brain attack.’

If blood flow is cut off for longer than a few seconds, the brain cannot get blood and oxygen. Brain cells can die, causing lasting damage.”


Strokes can happen at any time, to anyone, even to healthy persons and unborn babies. They can be caused by a variety of reasons – other diseases, body defects, lifestyle choices, obesity, hereditary issues, surgical errors, or trauma – not just to the head, but to other parts of the body where blood clots may form and eventually work their way to the brain, developing into a stroke.

Strokes may cause additional conditions in some survivors, making their lives even more miserable and recovery more difficult.

Not knowing these things caused me, and many other folks, to fear the unknown, thinking strokes are contagious (they are not). To interact with survivors with caution, or avoid them when possible. To think of them as lepers. Terminal patients. Hopeless causes. We are far from that.

Education is key. Understanding this condition and the survivors will help caregivers and family and friends to better interact with us.

National Stroke Association – for more information on strokes, survivors, caregivers, friends and family, services and support:


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