Strokes are very serious. They are the 4th leading cause of death in the United States and they are the leading cause of adult disability. More than 75% of strokes can be prevented which is an extremely high percentage. If people know more about strokes and how to prevent them, these statistics will decrease dramatically. Do you know exactly what a stroke is? Do you know what the signs of a stroke are?
Thankfully Loretta Smith of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio knew the signs and symptoms and made a phone call – all be it an unintended one – that likely saved her life. Ms. Smith, age 70, felt her right side go numb and with her left hand she picked up the phone and intended on dialing her son but instead was one digit off and reached a young man in Denver, Colorado. She said, “I think I’m having a stroke.” He was able to get some basic information from her and he called 911. She was taken in and it was determined that in fact she had had a mini-stroke. Ms. Smith praises him for saving her life. He said, “I do not feel like I’ve done anything special. I didn’t save her. She found me.” You can read the full article by clicking here.
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel breaks or an artery is blocked by a blood clot, interrupting blood flow to a particular area of the brain. When either of these things occur, brain cells die which causes brain damage. Depending on which part of the brain is effected (where the blood clot or artery blockage occurs) depends on which abilities controlled by that area of the brain are lost. Usually the abilities that are affected include speech, movement, and memory. Some people recover completely from a stroke, but more than 2/3 of stroke survivors will have some kind of lingering disability.
Stroke signs and symptoms
These are the most simple and common ways to detect a stroke. Remember the acronym F.A.S.T. to help you in your assessment. And as always, with any health issue – if in doubt, dial 911.
There are several risk factors that can be controlled in preventing a stroke. The list of controllable risk factors are: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, tobacco use, obesity, and alcohol use. Click on the link to learn more about how to prevent a stroke.