Symptoms / Prevention
Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the number one cause of adult disability in the United States. While 795,000 Americans will have a stroke this year, nearly 80 percent of strokes are preventable. Brain cells lacking the proper amount of blood flow begin to die within minutes. It takes only 12 minutes for a pea-sized area of brain to die from the onset of a stroke. Treatment is available. DO NOT WAIT.
A stroke or brain attack occurs when there is a sudden interruption of blood supply to the brain. When this happens, the part of the brain that does not receive the flow of blood with the oxygen and nutrients it needs starts to die. Stroke is also called a brain attack because of its sudden onset. Like a heart attack, brain attack requires emergency response and treatment.
If you or someone you know is experiencing the signs and symptoms of stroke (see Symptoms and Prevention), call 911 immediately.
Brain attack is the most preventable medical catastrophe. The best way to prevent a brain attack is to reduce the risk factors that could cause it. Medical care and lifestyle changes can mitigate the following risk factors:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease (particularly irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation)
- Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
- Hypercholesterolemia (blood cholesterol level greater than 200 mg)
- Alcohol use (more than 2 drinks per day raises blood pressure)
- Being overweight
Know the Warning Signs
- Sudden onset of one-sided weakness
- One-sided numbness or paralysis
- Blurred or decreased vision in one or both eyes
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty speaking or understanding
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Sudden severe or unexplained headache.
If you experience one or more of these signs, call 911 immediately. The faster you get treatment, the greater your chance for a full recovery.
Give Me 5 - Tool for Recognizing a Stroke
- WALK - Is their balance off?
- TALK - Is their speech or face droopy?
- REACH - Is one side weak or numb?
- SEE - Is their vision all or partly affected?
- FEEL - Is their headache severe?