• Know the Symptoms of Stroke

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of serious long-term disability. If stroke symptoms are present, it is important to dial 911 immediately.

    Warning signs of a stroke include:

    • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg - particularly on one side of the body
    • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
    • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
    • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
    • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

    To quickly recognize the symptoms of stroke, the National Stroke Association recommends acting F.A.S.T.

    • FACE: A person suffering a stroke may exhibit a facial droop.
    • ARMS: A stroke can bring about sudden weakness in one or both arms and the inability to raise them.
    • SPEECH: Does the person have slurred speech or use incorrect words? Is he or she unable to speak at all?
    • TIME: If a person displays any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

    Most strokes are classified in one of the following ways:

    • Ischemic strokes occur when a blood vessel that supplies the brain becomes blocked or "clogged" and impairs blood flow to part of the brain. Ischemic stroke accounts for about 87 percent of all strokes. Ischemic strokes are further divided into two groups, including:
      • Thrombotic stroke: Caused by a blood clot that develops in the blood vessels inside the brain.
      • Embolic stroke: Caused by a blood clot or plaque debris that develops elsewhere in the body and then travels to one of the blood vessels in the brain via the bloodstream.
      • Lacunar stroke: Caused by a blood clot that develops in the blood vessels that provide blood to deep areas of the brain.
    • Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a weakened blood vessel ruptures and bleeds into the surrounding brain. The blood accumulates and compresses the surrounding brain tissue. Hemorrhagic stroke accounts for about 13 percent of all strokes.
    • Transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as a ministroke or warning stoke, is caused by a clot; TIA differs from a stroke in that it is temporary, occurring rapidly and lasting a short time. TIAs are strong predictors of stroke and should be considered a medical emergency.

    Know Your Risk
    Some stroke risk factors are hereditary, while others are a function of natural processes. Other risk factors may result from a person’s lifestyle.

    Hereditary factors that increase your risk of stroke:

    • Age (55 or older)
    • Family history of stroke
    • Race (African-American)
    • Gender (women)
    • Prior stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA), or heart attack

    With proper education and a healthy lifestyle, about 80 percent of all strokes can be prevented. The following risk factors can be changed, treated or controlled through positive changes as appropriate. If you have a medical condition, talk with your doctor about the proper way to manage it and reduce your risk of having a stroke.

    Risk factors that can be changed, treated or controlled:

    • High blood pressure (hypertension)
    • Cigarette smoking
    • Diabetes
    • Carotid or other artery disease
    • Peripheral artery disease
    • Atrial fibrillation (AF)
    • Other heart disease
    • Sickle cell disease (also called sickle cell anemia)
    • High blood cholesterol
    • Poor diet
    • Physical inactivity and obesity

    A stroke is a medical emergency. Please call 911 immediately if you are experiencing symptoms of stroke.

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