Stroke Early Response – What You Can Do

Stroke Early Response

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in America. In fact, according to the American Stroke Association, someone suffers a stroke every 45 seconds and every 3.1 minutes, someone dies from a stroke. Besides claiming nearly 168,000 American lives annually, stroke is also a leading cause of severe, long-term disability as it can cause paralysis, vision problems, memory loss and speech/language problems.

Yet, according to a recent survey conducted by the American Stroke Association, only 2 percent of American adults list stroke as the disease or health condition concerning them most, and 50 percent of adults do not believe they are even at risk for stroke. In fact, stroke can affect adults of all ages, and even children.

A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel or artery, or when a blood vessel breaks, and interrupts blood flow to an area of the brain. If a stroke occurs and blood can’t flow to the region of the brain that controls a particular body function, that function ceases to work as it should. Recognizing the warning signs, calling 911 and getting to a hospital within three hours of the onset of symptoms, may greatly reduce the risk of long-term disability caused by stroke.


How Do You Recognize Stroke

Symptoms of stroke appear suddenly. Watch for these symptoms and be prepared to act quickly for yourself or on behalf of someone you are with

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body

  • Sudden confusion, trouble talking, or understanding speech

  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination

  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

If you suspect you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms indicative of a stroke, do not wait. Call 911 emergency immediately. There are now effective therapies for stroke that must be administered at a hospital, but they lose their effectiveness if not given within the first 3 hours after stroke symptoms appear. Every minute counts

What You Can Do:

Know the Warning Signs!

If you notice one or more of these signs in another person or yourself, don’t wait. Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency medical services number immediately and get the person to a hospital right away! Treatment can be more effective if given quickly. Every second counts!

The signs are:

Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Be Aware of Your Risk!

Some risk factors for stroke are:

Increasing age
Heredity (family history)
Prior stroke
High blood pressure
Caryotid artery disease
Heart disease
Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs)
High red blood cell count
Excessive Drinking
Intravenous Drug Abuse

Secondary risk factors that affect the risk of stroke indirectly by increasing the risk of heart disease include:

High blood cholesterol and lipids
Physical inactivity

Lower Your Risk!

While some risk factors for stroke, such as family history, are unavoidable, there are steps that you can take to help lower your risk.

Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily
Exercise regularly
Have your blood pressure checked regularly
Keep your cholesterol within recommended limits
Stop smoking
If you drink alcohol, do so only in moderation


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