Stroke is the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer. Stroke is a disease of the arteries that are within the brain or leading up to the brain. If the arteries in the brain are blocked the resulting stroke is called an ischemic stroke. A hemorrhagic stroke is when the arteries burst, depriving the brain of oxygen. With both types of stroke a lack of oxygen to the cells causes cell damage or the death of brain cells. The most common signs that someone is having a stroke include sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, legs or on one side of the entire body. Mental confusion, including trouble speaking or understanding others is another symptom. Yet another sign is trouble seeing out of one or both eyes. Finally, someone may experience problems with loss of balance or dizziness or severe headache.
The area of the brain that is deprived of oxygen which will determine which side of the body is having symptoms. If the stroke occurs on the left side of the brain the right side of the body will be affected, and it might result in paralysis, memory loss or speech/language problems or slow cautious movements. If the stroke occurs on the right side of the brain, the left side of the body will be affected and may result in paralysis on the left side, vision problems, memory loss, and a quick inquisitive behavioral style.
Once someone has a stroke, depending on the severity recovery time can be from weeks to months. An Italian study published in Journal of Nutritional Neuroscience showed that 10 mg of zinc per day helped speed the recovery of patients as a compared to patients that took the placebo. There was an improvement in recovery in 30 days. This could be a wonderful support to patients, especially the elderly.