Signs of Stroke
Stroke is the leading cause of disability and the third leading cause of death in adults. But there is much you can do to minimize your risk of having a stroke. Moreover, advances in treatment and rehabilitation have improved the prospects for recovery in people who suffer strokes.
There are two types of stroke: the most common kind is ischemic stroke, which results from a blockage in an artery that prevents blood carrying oxygen from reaching the brain. Less common is hemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when blood vessels rupture and blood accumulates in brain tissues, such as from an aneurysm (a pouch in a weak spot of an artery). A stroke damages nerve cells in the brain that control bodily movements and how we receive and interpret sensations.
It is vitally important to recognize the signs of stroke and get help immediately. In fact, you and your family should be aware of the following warning signs of an impending stroke:
- Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg on one side of the body
- Sudden dimness or loss of vision, particularly in one eye
- Loss of speech or trouble talking or understanding speech
- Sudden severe headaches with no apparent cause
- Unexplained dizziness, unsteadiness or sudden falls, especially in conjunction with any of the above symptoms.
If you notice one or more of these signs, don’t wait call 911.
Stroke is an emergency and oftentimes can be prevented if treated quickly.
“The only proven theory of successfully treating an ischemic stroke is for treatment to be administered within three hours of symptom onset,” stresses A. P., M.D., member of The University Hospital’s stroke team. “Even within three hours, every minute counts. Earlier is much better than later.”
If you see a doctor before a stroke occurs, you may be able to prevent it. For example, surgeons can remove blockages in arteries, blood clots or aneurysms, and can prescribe drugs that delay blood clotting or prevent clots from forming.
Regular medical check-ups are the best protection against stroke. Your doctor can detect conditions that may predispose you to stroke and can suggest measures to prevent it. Since hypertension is the most important risk factor, be sure your blood pressure is controlled. If you have heart disease, high cholesterol, or diabetes—other risk factors—you should be working with your doctor to manage those conditions. Stopping smoking reduces the risk of stroke, as does exercising, decreasing alcohol intake and keeping your weight under control.
To find out if you are at risk of having a stroke, visit, to fill out an on-line personal stroke risk assessment.
For more information on strokes, contact your physician or call The Neuroscience Institute.
Our internationally recognized stroke team works with collaborating hospitals in the area to bring emergency neurology patients the fastest treatment possible. The team of nurses, physicians and scientists provides a multi-faceted service where clinical medicine and research work tightly together.
Sources: American Heart Assocation
Learn more about faster diagnosis enhancing the proper use of tPA.
This organization wants to reduce the impact and incidence of stroke.
This government agency supports biomedical research on disorders of the brain and nervous system.
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