What is a stroke?
A stroke happens when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. Brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. A stroke can cause you to permanently lose speech, movement and memory.
- Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of adult disability.
- Every 40 seconds on average, an American will have a stroke.
- About 795,000 Americans have a new or recurrent stroke annually.
- About 90% of stroke risk is due to modifiable risk factors — 74% is due to behavioral risk factors.
Prevent stroke by:
- Identifying your personal risk.
- Reducing your controllable risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
- Recognizing and responding to the signs and symptoms of a stroke.
Use the letters in FAST to recognize the warning signs of a stroke:
- Face drooping: Smile. Is your smile uneven or lopsided?
- Arm weakness: Raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech difficulty: Repeat a simple sentence. Can you correctly repeat the words?
- Time: Time to call 911. Time is important, so don’t delay!
How is a stroke diagnosed and evaluated?
- CT of the head: A CT of the head can detect a stroke from a blood clot or bleeding within the brain.
- MRI of the head: An MRI can detect brain tissue damaged by a stroke and highlight blood flow within the arteries and veins.
- Carotid ultrasound: The ultrasound shows the inside of the carotid arteries in your neck, highlighting buildup of fatty deposits, or plaques, and blood flow in your arteries.
Make sure you act FAST!