Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the United States

When the blood supply to the brain is disturbed due to either A) thrombosis (formation of blood clot inside a blood vessel), B) embolism (a free moving thrombosis), or C) hemorrhage (internal bleeding), a stroke can occur. This causes rapid deterioration of brain function, resulting in muscle weakness in the face, numbness on one side of the body, the inability to comprehend or formulate speech, and other reductions in sensory or vibratory sensation.

Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the United States and Europe, and is the third leading cause of death in the United States. It is estimated that nearly 700,000 people suffer a stroke each year, and it is also estimated that stroke-related care for the United States is $51 billion annually.

Stroke can cause neurological complications and death, and should be treated as a medical emergency. Hospitalization is absolutely necessary and should happen as quickly as possible. If the person suffering from a stroke can be treated quickly enough the blood clot may be dissolved and some of the stroke symptoms may be decreased or reversed. It is not uncommon for stroke patients to need surgery to save their lives.

Stroke is a sign of rapid loss of brain function due to the blood disturbance in the brain. If you see someone that exhibits the symptoms of stroke, call 911 right away. The most important things to notice are speech patterns, limb function and face muscles. Can the person smile? Do they exhibit facial drooping? Can they hold their arms out for ten seconds? Are they complaining of numbness? Can they understand you? Is their speech slurred? If any of these symptoms are present, you may be dealing with a stroke victim.

Most strokes happen at age 65 or older, but not all. Stroke can happen at any age. Men are thought to have a higher risk for stroke until the age of 85. Women have strokes at older ages and have a higher percentage of disability following a stroke.

The following page discusses how disability claims involving stroke are determined. Excerpt: "When an individual files for disability on the basis of a stroke, the disability examiner will not make a medical disability determination until at least three months have passed since the stroke occurred."

Link: How Social Security evaluates stroke.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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