New research shows strokes may strike earlier than you think

Dr. Sheryl Martin-Schild is the statewide stroke medical director for the Louisiana Emergency Response Network (LERN), and the medical director of stroke and neurology at Touro and New Orleans East Hospitals. LERN's purpose is to make sure all Louisiana hospitals are equipped to recognize, evaluate and treat strokes. In 2009, the project launched its system of care for time-sensitive emergency support.

Martin-Schild says there are two major types of stroke: ischemic stroke, in which an artery carrying blood to the brain becomes blocked (usually by a blood clot), and hemorrhagic stroke, in which one of those arteries bursts and there's bleeding in the brain. Both result in loss of oxygen to cells, which damages the brain. Hemorrhagic stroke is characterized by progression — as the bleeding continues, symptoms worsen.