A stroke is brain damage caused by a blocked or bleeding artery in the brain.

Stroke, sometimes called a brain attack or cerebrovascular accident (CVA), occurs when there is a sudden interruption of blood flow to the brain.

After only a few minutes without oxygen, the sensitive brain cells — neurons — reduce their function and cause permanent damage. The lack of function in certain portions of the brain, depending on the infected area, impairs the ability to control one's body. Walking, talking or controlling specific muscles becomes practically impossible for stroke victims as their brain cells continue to die. Unfortunately, the body does not reproduce brain cells.

Stroke is the No. 1 cause of long-term disability and the fifth largest cause of death in the U.S.