Community Blog

Stroke Awareness: Signs, Symptoms and How To Respond

By Vicki Crow

Strokes kill an average of 140,000 Americans each year, accounting for one out of every 20 deaths that occur in the nation. Every 40 seconds, someone has a stroke. Every four minutes, a person dies from stroke.

 

A stroke is an emergency medical condition that is more or less an attack on the brain. While seniors are more prone to stroke than others, the condition does not discriminate based on age. Risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, high cholesterol, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity and a family history of stroke. If you or a loved one demonstrates the signs of a stroke, it is imperative that you get emergency medical attention immediately. A stroke left untreated can cause permanent brain damage or even death.

 

Signs of Stroke of Which To Be Aware

Though some symptoms of stroke are obvious, there are others that appear to be your everyday ailment. For this reason, it is important to know what combination of symptoms to look for so that you can get yourself or a loved one to a medical professional right away. Some of the more common signs of stroke include the following:

 

  • Loss of vision or a dimming sensation in one or both eyes
  • Numbness or weakness in the face, leg or arm on one side of the body
  • Sudden, severe headache
  • Difficulty speaking, loss of speech or in ability to comprehend what others are saying
  • Loss of coordination or inability to walk, in addition to one or more of the other symptoms

 

What To Do in The Event of a Stroke

If you are having a stroke, call 911 ASAP. If you are with a friend, family member or acquaintance, have him or he take you to the nearest ER. Immediate medical attention is absolutely necessary if you hope to prevent irreversible brain damage or death. If a loved one suffers a stroke, do the same: call 911 and take him or her to the nearest hospital right away.

 

How To Prevent Stroke

50 percent of strokes are preventable, as they are caused by the risk factors mentioned above (high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, smoking, obesity, etc.). You can prevent stroke by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, and by allowing your family doctor to assess your risks and provide recommendations.

 

Some people demonstrate warning signs prior to having a stroke. These are called "transient ischemic attacks," or mini-strokes, and are characterized by the same symptoms as a full-blown stroke. However, the episodes are short-lived and mild enough that most people don't treat them with urgency. If you experience any of the above symptoms, no matter how brief, head to your nearest caregiving center right away.

 

Stroke can be life-threatening. By knowing the signs and symptoms, you can prevent significant brain damage and even save your own life.