When the blood supply to the brain is cut off, brain cells die. That’s called a stroke, and it can cause permanent disability or death within minutes.
When signs of a stroke appear, every second counts. Symptoms include sudden numbness of the face or limbs, confusion, difficulty with speech or cognition, visual disturbances, trouble walking, loss of balance, and severe headache. Although the majority of strokes occur in people aged 65 or older, they can and do occur any age.
If you suspect someone is showing signs of a stroke, act FAST:
May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and there are some important things you should know.
Stroke does not always lead to disability or death, but getting to the hospital as quickly as possible is crucial. Treatment in the first three hours after symptoms begin decreases the potential for long-term disability.
Many contributing factors to stroke such as age, gender, and genetics are unavoidable. Some risk factors come from behaviors we can control, such as smoking and abuse of alcohol and drugs. Controlling weight and blood pressure also improve our odds.
A TIA is a transient ischemic attack or mini-stroke that does no lasting damage. Not to be taken lightly, a TIA is considered a warning stroke and is cause to seriously evaluate risk factors that can be controlled.
Be your family’s own best health advocate — learn the signs and symptoms of stroke — and act F.A.S.T.
A public service announcement from the American Stroke Association:
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