If you think you are having a stroke, dial 911.
Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot, or it ruptures. The brain is starved of the oxygen it needs and brain cells begin to die.
Stroke has a variety of symptoms, the most common of which are:
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body)
- Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Sudden vision problems in one or both eyes
- Sudden difficulty walking or dizziness, loss of balance or problems with coordination
- Severe headache with no known cause
You can use the following acronym to remember and recognize the signs of a stroke:
- F: Face drooping. Ask the person to smile, and see if one side is drooping. One side of the face may also be numb, and the smile may appear uneven.
- A: Arm weakness. Ask the person to raise both arms. Is there weakness or numbness on one side? One arm drifting downward is a sign of one-sided arm weakness.
- S: Speech difficulty. People having a stroke may slur their speech or have trouble speaking at all. Speech may be incomprehensible. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence and look for any speech abnormality.
- T: Time to call 9-1-1! If a person shows any of the symptoms above, even if the symptoms went away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to a hospital immediately.
There are many risks of stroke that can be controlled to reduce the possibility of a stroke:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Physical inactivity and obesity
- Carotid or other artery disease
- Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs
- Atrial fibrillation (AFib) or other heart disease
- Certain blood disorders
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Illegal drug use (cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines, heroin)
- Sleep apnea
Make an appointment with your physician to discuss prevention if you think you are at risk for a stroke. More information is available on the following websites:
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NOTE: The health information provided on this website is designed to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional before starting a new treatment or to answer questions about a medical condition.