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The debilitating symptoms of a stroke

Imagine you're reading the newspaper at the kitchen table when you suddenly realize you can't feel your rights leg or arm and your muscles feel incredibly weak. The words of the paper swim before your eyes and are no longer intelligible. You try to yell to your spouse for help, but you find it's difficult to speak.

These are just some of the possible symptoms that an individual may experience in the wake of a stroke. Strokes occur when an obstruction, like a blood clot, prevents the flow of blood to the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. According to the Stroke Center, annually approximately 795,000 people in the U.S. suffer strokes.

After a stroke, it's critical that an individual receive immediate medical care to diagnose what caused the stroke and to prevent additional injury and harm. Any damage to the brain that occurs is permanent, but stroke-related symptoms may improve with time and rehabilitative therapy.

Individuals who suffer strokes often experience weakness or paralysis of one side of the body. Additionally, an individual may experience a range of other symptoms that may vary in severity including cognitive changes and impairments that affect one's ability to think clearly, recall information, speak, reason and learn. Some stroke survivors also experience changes that affect their emotional responses and overall personality.

Given the disabling symptoms that frequently accompany a stroke, stroke sufferers are often unable to accomplish many of the physical and mental tasks they previously enjoyed. Unable to work, qualifying individuals may be awarded Social Security disability insurance benefits to help offset a loss of income.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, "NINDS Stroke Information Page," 2015

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