What is a Stroke?
A stroke is a “brain attack” and occurs when a blood vessel that carries blood (and oxygen) and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot (ischemic stroke) or ruptures (hemorrhagic stroke). Because the blood and nutrients cannot get to the brain, brain cells die.
Per the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, someone dies of a stroke every 4 minutes, and nearly 800,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.
What are the warning signs of a stroke?
FAST is an easy way to remember and identify the warning signs of a stroke. Recognizing these symptoms and quickly calling 911 will determine how fast someone will get help and treatment. Getting to the hospital as quickly as possible may lead to a better recovery time.
Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Is there arm weakness? Does one arm drift downward?
Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
Time: If you see any of the signs, call 911 immediately.
What are the causes and risk factors of stroke?
Stroke can happen to anyone at any age, but there are certain risk factors that can increase your chance of getting a stroke. Some of these risk factors include:
- family history of stroke or a personal history of stroke or heart attack
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- circulation problems
- atrial fibrillation
- lack of physical activity
To learn more about these and other risk factors click here.