Strokes can affect people of all ages and all backgrounds. They occur when a blockage stops blood flow to the brain or when a vessel in or around the brain bursts. Almost 800,000 strokes occur in the United States every year.
May is National Stroke Awareness Month. To protect yourself or loved ones, it is important to learn the signs of stroke and what steps to take to prevent one.
What are the signs and symptoms of a stroke?
It is important to act quickly and get medical help FAST if a person is experiencing symptoms of a stroke. Each minute that passes when the brain is deprived of oxygen causes serious damage. Seek help right away if someone is experiencing the following symptoms:
- SUDDEN numbness or weakness of face, arms or leg, especially on one side of the body
- SUDDEN trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- SUDDEN confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding
- SUDDEN severe headache with no identifiable cause
- SUDDEN trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
The American Stroke Association has developed a helpful acronym for recognizing the signs of a stroke – F.A.S.T.
- F – Face Drooping
- A – Arm Weakness
- S – Speech Difficulty
- T – Time To Call 911
If you think someone may be having a stroke, call 9-1-1 right away.
For more information about The American Stroke Association and F.A.S.T, click here.
How can a stroke be prevented?
Cardiovascular health is key to stroke prevention. Talk to your doctor to determine what is right for you, but general recommendations include:
- Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy body weight.
- Don’t smoke.
- Eat a healthy diet and limit sodium intake.
- Keep your blood pressure under control.
- Have your cholesterol checked regularly and keep in under control.
- Prevent or control diabetes.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Use appropriate aspirin therapy (if recommended by your doctor.)
To learn more about stroke and stroke prevention, click here.