Stroke or Coma
A stroke or "brain attack" occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery (a blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body) or a blood vessel (a tube through which the blood moves through the body) breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. When either of these things happen, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs.
Click here for more information about what a stroke is.
Click here for a list of the different types of strokes.
Click here for options in stroke treatment.
Click here for a list of controllable risk factors in strokes.
Coma is a state of prolonged unconsciousness that can be caused by a variety of problems - traumatic head injury, stroke, brain tumor, drug or alcohol intoxication, or even an underlying illness, such as diabetes or an infection.
Coma is a medical emergency. Swift action is needed to preserve life and brain function. Doctors typically order a batter of blood tests and a brain CT scan to try to determine what's causing coma so that proper treatment can begin.
Comas seldom last longer than several weeks. People who are unconscious for longer than that can transition to a persistent vegetative state. Depending on the cause of coma, people who are in a persistent vegetative state for more than three years are extremely unlikely to awaken.