Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability, according to the American Stroke Association. Despite the common occurrence of stroke, a lot of misinformation exists about the disease.
A stroke occurs when the blood flow is cut off to an area of the brain. When blood flow is cut off, the brain cannot get or receive oxygen and cells begin to die. When the cells die, brain function and memory can die too. A stroke can happen at any time to anyone at any age. Some people recover fully but often stroke survivors can have some type of disability. Knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke can help you or your loved one minimize effects of stroke.
What are the symptoms of a stroke?
In each minute a stroke goes untreated and blood flow is blocked, 1.9 million neurons can be lost. Patients benefit the most when symptoms are addressed immediately.
Act FAST to remember common stroke symptoms:
F– FACE. Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A– ARMS. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S– SPEECH. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
T– TIME. Call 911 immediately if you observe of any of these signs.
Source: National Stroke Association
What are common misconceptions about stroke?
- Symptoms that last a shorter time are not as important as longer lasting symptoms.
- Symptoms such as numbness or weakness are not associated with stroke.
- Stroke only occurs if you have medical problems.
- After having a stroke, you can’t improve your quality of life.
- Women are less likely to suffer stroke compared to men.
Some of the most surprising symptoms of stroke are hiccups, confusion, hallucination, fainting, sudden weakness, agitation, and vomiting.
- Take the test: How much do you know about stroke?
Minimize Your Stroke Risk
Significant progress has been made in the last decade to diagnose and treat stroke. More than 80 percent of strokes can be prevented. Minimize your risk of stroke with these tips:
- Exercise daily for 30 minutes. Try this playlist when working out.
- Eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables daily.
- See your physician annually and know your numbers.
- Don’t smoke.
- Limit alcoholic beverages. No more than two servings for men or one for women.