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Five Myths about Stroke

Shepherd Center urges people to know the facts so they can prevent strokes and recognize the signs if one occurs.

By Rekha Nath, PT, MHS
Brain Injury Program Education Coordinator, Shepherd Center

MYTH #1:  A stroke is not a brain injury.

FACT:  A stroke results from injury to the brain due to a blood clot or hemorrhage to a blood vessel in the brain. A stroke occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain stops. A stroke is sometimes called a “brain attack.” If blood flow is cut off for longer than a few seconds, the brain cannot get blood and oxygen. Brain cells can die, causing injury.

MYTH #2:  I cannot do anything about preventing a stroke because of my family medical history.

FACT:  Everyone has uncontrollable risk factors such as age, race, gender, family history and history of previous stroke. Everyone also has controllable risk factors such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Atrial fibrillation (irregular/rapid heart rate)
  • Atherosclerosis (thickening of artery walls)
  • Circulation problems
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol use

Reference: Click here.  

MYTH #3 I am so young that high blood pressure at this age cannot cause any problems.

FACT:  In 2013 in Georgia, roughly the same number of people under the age of 65 experienced a stroke as over the age of 65 (17, 223 under 65 and 17, 447 over 65).
Reference:  Georgia Hospital Association

MYTH #4: Strokes are not preventable; they can't be helped.

FACT:  Eighty percent of strokes can be prevented by working with your healthcare professional to reduce personal risk.
Reference:  National Stroke Association

MYTH #5:  More men than women have strokes.

FACT:  About 55,000 more women than men have a stroke each year.
Reference:  Centers for Disease Control 

For more information about stroke rehabilitation and resources about stroke prevention and symptoms, click here.

REKHA NATH, PT, MHS, is the brain injury program education coordinator at Shepherd Center. She can be reached at 404-367-1309 or

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neurological conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 740 inpatients, nearly 280 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.