What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked. Brain cells start to die within a few minutes of a stroke. Stroke, dependent on the level and severity, presents as weakness in an arm or leg or face, loss of ability to understand or produce speech or loss of vision. Immediate attention is important for someone having a stroke to minimize the brain damage and long-term disability. The American Heart Association says stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and is among leading causes of long-term disability.

Stroke Types and Symptoms:

Ischemic stroke, the most common stroke, is when a blood clot blocks blood flow in a vessel in the brain.
Hemorrhagic stroke is blood vessel ruptures/breaks and bleeds into the brain.

Common symptoms of a stroke are:

  • Severe headache without a known reason
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding speech. Speech may be garbled.
  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm of leg on the same side of the body
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance and loss of coordination

ACT FAST: Use the acronym BEFAST to help identify a stroke

B= Balance – Does the person have sudden loss of balance?

E= Eyes– Has the person lost vision in one or both eyes?

F=Face – Does the person’s face look uneven?

A= Arms – Is one arm weak or numb?

S= Speech – Is the person’s speech slurred? Does the person have trouble
speaking or seem confused?

T= Time – Call 911 NOW! Every minute counts

Stroke Prevention:

  • Stop smoking and do not start smoking
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Control your blood pressure
  • Manage your cholesterol
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight