Stroke is a major health issue for the United States and the world in general. When we talk about stroke, I find that often my patients have difficult time really understanding what a stroke is and there's a lot of misconceptions out there. So first let's talk about what, what a stroke is when a physician is talking about a stroke. We're usually talking about three major different conditions. The first and the most common type of stroke is something called an ischemic stroke. And most of the time when doctors are talking about strokes, this is what they're talking about. An ischemic stroke is where a clot or some type of blockage, actually this could be most commonly a blood clot, but also a cholesterol embolus or cholesterol piece breaks off and comes up into the brain and lands at some point where it blocks an artery. And now that artery can't supply blood to part of the brain. That part of the brain stops working. So people immediately develop symptoms. From my end, I very much pay attention to what type of symptoms or the pattern of symptoms that people have. Because with a stroke, we know how the blood vessels go in the brain and where they go. And so the symptoms have to correlate to a vascular distribution. The longer that blood clot stays there, the more damage happens. Damage starts happening immediately, and over the course of minutes to hours, that damage can become permanent. That's why often when we talk about treating stroke, time is of the utmost importance, and that's something that we will talk more about later when I talk about treatment.
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