Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in adults. The signs of a stroke are something everyone should be aware of. It could save your life or the life of a loved one!
The good news is that treatments are available that can greatly reduce the damage caused by a stroke. However, it is critical that a stroke victim be treated strokeimmediately to prevent disability. You need to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and get to a hospital and receive treatment within 60 minutes of the symptoms starting. A quick response can save the patient’s life and enhance their chances for a successful recovery.
A stroke, sometimes called a “brain attack,” occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. Brain cells in the immediate area begin to die because they stop getting the oxygen and nutrients they need to function.
There are two major kinds of stroke. An ischemic stroke is caused by a blood clot that blocks or plugs a blood vessel or artery in the brain. The majority of all strokes are ischemic. A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a blood vessel in the brain that breaks and bleeds into the brain.
Although stroke is a disease of the brain, it can affect the entire body. The effects of a stroke range from mild to severe and can include paralysis, problems with thinking, problems with speaking, and emotional problems. Patients may also experience pain or numbness after a stroke.
Because stroke injures the brain, you may not realize that you are having one. To a bystander, someone having a stroke may just look unaware or confused. Stroke victims have the best chance if someone around them recognizes the symptoms and acts quickly.
To recognize signs of stroke, look the sudden onset of any of these conditions:
- Numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body
- Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Severe headache with no known cause
The best treatment for stroke is prevention. There are several risk factors that increase your chances of having a stroke. Managing or removing these risks from your life can save it!
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
If you believe someone is having a stroke – if he or she suddenly loses the ability to speak, or move an arm or leg on one side, or experiences facial paralysis on one side – call 911 immediately. You can also watch a video about stroke on our website. Click on Neurosurgical I, then select Head, then select Conditions. You will see stroke in the list of conditions.