Stroke is ranked as the fifth most common cause of death in the U.S. One of the most lifesaving things a person can know is how to recognize the early signs of a stroke. Detecting these symptoms early can ensure that a person experiencing a stroke gets medical attention before it’s too late.
What causes a stroke?
A stroke is caused by loss of blood flow to the brain. This can happen because of a blood clot, a ruptured blood vessel, or even a traumatic injury. When blood flow is reduced to the brain, it is unable to function properly and can cause symptoms such as
- Difficulty speaking
- Numbness on one side of the body in the face, arm, or leg.
- Difficulty seeing
- Severe headache
Can you prevent a stroke?
Strokes can cause permanent memory loss and decreased brain function and mobility. Learn about the steps you can take now to decrease your chances of having a stroke.
- Eat a healthy diet and exercise often
- Limit alcohol intake
- Keep a healthy weight
- Keep up with annual doctor’s visits
- Manage other conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
How can you help?
Educate your friends, family, and community: One of the most important things you can do is to raise awareness about strokes, how to prevent them, and how to spot the signs of a stroke.
Take care of yourself: Prioritize your health, and always communicate with your doctor about any concerns you have. We tend to think it will never happen to us, but anyone can experience a stroke.
Know the signs: You could save someone’s life just by noticing the symptoms of a stroke and ensuring that the person gets medical attention. One helpful way to remember what to look for if you suspect someone is experiencing a stroke is the acronym FAST.
Face: Look for one side of the person’s face drooping.
Arms: A person experiencing a stroke may be only able to raise one arm.
Speech: Notice if the person is able to speak a simple sentence clearly, or if the person’s speech is slurred.
Time: If you notice these signs, you should call 911 immediately. It is vital that this person gets medical attention as soon as possible.