If a stroke was attacking your brain, would you know it?
If a stroke hits, you need to act fast. For each minute a stroke goes untreated, your brain loses 1.9 million neurons, which could lead to irreversible brain damage. Getting to the hospital fast reduces your risk of serious, long-term disability and could save your life.
That’s why it’s critical to be able to recognize stroke symptoms, so you can act quickly if one hits. The scary thing is, most people don’t know the red-flag warning signs of a stroke. According a survey reported by the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), 93% of survey respondents recognized sudden numbness on one side as a symptom of stroke, but only 38% of people were aware of all major stroke symptoms and knew when to call 9-1-1.
If you suspect you might be one of the 38%, pay attention.
First, it’s important to know that there are two different types of strokes: ischemic and hemorrhagic. An ischemic stroke is usually caused by a blood clot that blocks a blood vessel in the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke is when a blood vessel breaks and bleeds into the brain. Both types cause brain cells to die. Both are life-threatening medical emergencies. Both can cause these red-flag stroke symptoms:
1. Numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body)
2. Confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding speech
3. Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
4. Difficulty walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or coordination
5. Severe headache with no known cause
This acronym is an easy way to remember stroke symptoms: Think F-A-S-T.
Time to call 9-1-1
Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke. National Stroke Association. (Accessed on March 9, 2018 at http://www.stroke.org/understand-stroke/recognizing-stroke/signs-and-symptoms-stroke)
Stroke Facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017. (Accessed on March 9, 2018 at https://www.cdc.gov/stroke/facts.htm
Awareness of Stroke Warning Signs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2001. (Accessed on March 9, 2018 at https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5317a2.htm)
Ischemic Stroke. U.S. National Library of Medicine, MedlinePlus. (Accessed on March 9, 2018 at https://medlineplus.gov/ischemicstroke.html)
Hemorrhagic Stroke. U.S. National Library of Medicine, MedlinePlus. (Accessed on March 9, 2018 at https://medlineplus.gov/hemorrhagicstroke.html)
Four Letters: F-A-S-T. Three Numbers: 9-1-1. American Stroke Association. (Accessed on March 9, 2018 at http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/WarningSigns/Stroke-Warning-Signs-and-Symptoms_UCM_308528_SubHomePage.jsp)