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Apoplexy is a medical term, which can be used to describe "bleeding" in a stroke (formerly described as a cerebrovascular accident). Without further specification, it is rather outdated in use. Among health care professionals, it is used only for specific conditions, such as pituitary apoplexy and ovarian apoplexy. In common speech, it is used non-medically to mean a state of extreme rage or excitement. The word derives from the Greek word apoplēxia (ἀποπληξία) meaning "a striking (or hitting) away".
From the late 14th to the late 19th century, the word "apoplexy" was also used to describe any sudden death that began with a sudden loss of consciousness, especially one in which the victim died within a matter of seconds after losing consciousness. The word "apoplexy" may have been used to describe the symptom of sudden loss of consciousness immediately preceding death and not a verified disease process. Sudden cardiac deaths, ruptured cerebral aneurysms, certain ruptured aortic aneurysms, and even heart attacks may have been described as apoplexy in the past.
The term "apoplexy" is used to describe bleeding within internal organs. In such usage it is coupled with an adjective describing the site of the bleeding. For example, bleeding within the pituitary gland is called pituitary apoplexy, and bleeding within the adrenal glands can be called adrenal apoplexy.
In both pituitary and adrenal apoplexy, the word apoplexy refers to both hemorrhage with the gland and to accompanying neurological problems such as confusion, headache, and impairment of consciousness.
Colloquially, particularly in the adjective form apoplectic, apoplexy means furious, enraged, or upset to the point of being unable to deal with a situation rationally or diplomatically.