A stroke is always a medical emergency. Recognize the signs of stroke and call 911!
A stroke happens when the supply of blood to the brain is suddenly interrupted. Some strokes are fatal while others cause permanent or temporary disability.
A blood clot blocks an artery (a blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body) or a blood vessel (a tube through which the blood moves through the body) breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. When either of these occur, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain are lost. These abilities include speech, movement and memory. How a stroke patient is affected depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged.
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in America and the Number One cause of adult disability.
Stroke Warning Signs
The American Stroke Association says these are the warning signs of stroke:
- 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.
If you or someone with you has one or more of these signs, don't delay! Immediately call 9-1-1. Also, check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared. It is very important to take immediate action. If given within three hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke.
If you have experienced any of these symptoms, you may have had a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) or mini-stroke, consult your doctor immediately. If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. and do this simple test:
Call 911 and get to the hospital immediately.