Every 53 seconds, an American will suffer a stroke, a type of brain injury, an attack, caused by sudden interruption of the blood flow to the brain.
Every 3.3 minutes someone will die from a stroke, often because they didn't recognize the warning symptoms.
Symptoms of a Stroke
Don't wait. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately if you notice one or more of these symptoms:
- 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 walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
What are the different types of Strokes?
An ischemic stroke is an interruption of blood flow can occur when a blood vessel is either blocked by a blood clot or plaque. Plaque is the buildup of cells, fat and cholesterol in a blood vessel that can develop over time, gradually decreasing the flow of blood to the brain until finally an occlusion occurs. This same situation can occur in the blood vessels of the heart, leading to a heart attack.
A hemorrhagic stroke can also occur when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures. This is known as a cerebral hemorrhage. Whether the interruption of blood flow is due to an occlusion or a ruptured blood vessel, the results are the same. Blood cannot reach the brain; brain cells become deprived of oxygen and die.
An ischemic stroke many times are preceded by temporary episodes of stroke symptoms that last only a few minutes. These are called mini-strokes, TIAs or transient ischemic attacks. They should not be ignored. The TIA is a sign the artery was actually closed off temporarily. Approximately 35 percent of persons who experience these symptoms will have a stroke within five years.
What parts of my brain are affected by a stroke?
- Motor control - arm, leg, and facial movements and swallowing
- Sensation - sound, sight, touch.
- Communication and Cognition - talking and understanding the spoken/ written word.
- Personality - moods and emotions.
Remember to ACT FAST
Act FAST Call 911
Any one of these signs could mean a stroke:
- FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
- ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward
- SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
- TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately.