Kruk survives stroke with help from Waushara County EMS & ThedaStar

Stroke affects 700,000 people annually in the United States. It is the third leading cause of death and the No. 1 cause of long-term adult disability.

Emergency rooms and emergency medical services have to work quickly because “time is brain.” In other words, the faster stroke victims are treated, the less damage to the body and especially to the brain. If oxygen-rich blood is blocked from reaching the brain, brain nerve cells will die, producing damage and disability we call stroke.

Years ago, the treatment for most types of stroke was passive — we waited for it to be over and then managed the consequences. With this approach many stroke victims died. Those who survived faced the challenge of years of rehabilitation and, oftentimes, permanent brain damage or other disability. Today multiple treatments available help to restore blood flow to the brain, and as a result, minimize damage.

What is a stroke?
A stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is blocked by a blood clot in a brain artery or because a brain blood vessel has burst. Embolic stroke, or obstruction by clot, is the more common cause. Stroke symptoms include headache, mental confusion, inability to speak, loss of consciousness and paralysis.

When a stroke occurs, part or all of the brain is deprived of oxygen. Without oxygen, affected nerve cells in the brain stop functioning and begin to die within minutes. This is a disaster for the body because dead brain cells cannot be replaced. Because the brain controls the rest of the body, the death of certain brain cells often means a loss of functioning elsewhere.

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