A stroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when blood flow is cut off to part of the brain. It’s caused by either a blood clot or bleeding in the brain. If not addressed immediately, a stroke can turn life-threatening very quickly.
Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability among people in the United States. Despite popular belief, a stroke can happen to anyone at any age. In fact, intracerebral hemorrhage strokes (bleeding in the brain tissue) are currently on the rise in the U.S. among adults 18 to 44 and those 45 to 64 years of age.
But here’s the good news – early detection of stroke and treatment can often result in a better chance of survival and a lower risk of permanent disability
How to Identify the Symptoms of a Stroke
By knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke, you can take quick action and perhaps save a life – maybe even your own.
The major symptoms of a stroke are:
- Sudden numbness/weakness of the face, arms, or legs, especially focused on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion or trouble speaking
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden dizziness or loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden and severe headache
Women tend to also experience additional symptoms, including general, overall weakness and fatigue, nausea, or vomiting.
If you suspect you or someone you know is having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. During a stroke, every minute counts! And fast treatment can lessen the brain damage and long-term effects that stroke can cause.
The American Stroke Association uses the F.A.S.T. acronym to help detect stroke symptoms and enhance a timely response.
F – Facial drooping: Doe sone side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
A – Arm weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S – Speech difficulties: Is speech slurred?
T – Time: Time is critical when someone is having a stroke. If you suspect someone is having a stroke, call 911 to get them to the hospital as soon as possible. Most stroke medication has to be administered within three hours, so it’s also important to make notes on when symptoms began.
What You Can Do to Prevent a Stroke
Not only are strokes treatable when detected early, they are also preventable.
You can help prevent a stroke by making healthy lifestyle changes and choices, including:
- Eating healthy foods, including foods low in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol.
- Consume foods higher in fiber, along with fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Get regular physical activity and exercise thirty minutes daily, three to five times per week.
- Limit alcohol intake.
- Quit smoking and using tobacco products.
- Control your blood pressure and diabetes.
- Take any medications for high blood pressure or diabetes as prescribed by your physician.
Take With Your Doctor About Stroke Risk Factors
Many strokes can be prevented through healthy lifestyle changes and by working with your healthcare team to control certain health conditions that increase your risk for stroke.
It’s important to schedule annual check-ups with your primary care physician to ensure you’re not at risk for stroke or any other serious health conditions that could lead to a stroke.
If you don’t already have an established primary care physician, consider scheduling an appointment with Archbold Medical Group primary care practice in your area.