What is a stroke?
Stroke is the No. 3 cause of death and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in America. Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries of the brain. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel bringing blood and oxygen to the brain gets blocked or ruptures so brain cells don’t get the flow of blood that they need. Deprived of oxygen, nerve cells can’t function and die within minutes. And when nerve cells don’t function, the part of the body they control can’t function either. The devastating effects of stroke are often permanent because dead brain cells can’t be replaced.
What is a TIA?
TIA, or transient ischemic attack, is a “mini stroke” that occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery for a short time. The symptoms of a TIA are like the warning signs of a stroke, but they usually last only a few minutes. About 10 percent of strokes are preceded by TIAs. TIAs are strong predictors of stroke risk. Don’t ignore them. Call 9-1-1 or seek emergency medical attention immediately!
Why should I care about stroke? It seems hopeless.
The good news about stroke is that it’s largely preventable. Research has shown that you can take steps to prevent stroke by reducing and controlling your risk factors.
The other good news is that more than 4.7 million people who have had strokes are alive today! And much is being done to treat strokes and stop them in their tracks. For example, the FDA’s approval of the clot-dissolving drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) to treat stroke represents a major advance in the fight against stroke. If you act fast and seek emergency treatment right away, you could reduce disabilities caused by stroke.
What are the warning signs of stroke?
You and your family should recognize the warning signs of stroke. You may have some or all of these signs. Note the time when symptoms started and call 9-1-1 or the emergency medical number in your area. Stroke is a medical emergency!
Don’t ignore these warning signs, even if they go away! Timing is very important! An emergency medical doctor must treat you within three hours of the onset of symptoms.
Stroke warning signs:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Before you need to take emergency action, find out where the emergency entrance is to your nearest hospital. Also keep a list of emergency phone numbers next to your phone and with you at all times, just in case. Take these steps NOW!
Content courtesy of: American Heart Association