A stroke can happen to anyone at any time. Strokes are the number one cause of adult disability in the United States. Stroke is also one of the leading causes of death - 1 out of every 20 deaths is caused by stroke.
A stroke can be caused by a blockage in the artery feeding the brain or if an artery feeding the brain bursts.
In either case, a part of the brain does not get enough oxygen and begins to die. Because brain cells do not die immediately, the person suffering from the stroke may have time to access medical care. Stroke care is dependent on the type of the stroke, but all stroke care is time dependent – meaning the longer the symptoms continue, the worse the results may be.
When you think someone could be having a stroke, perform the FAST test.
Face - is the persons face symmetrical? Ask him/her to smile - is there the same number of teeth showing in the smile? If not, it could be a sign of stroke.
Arm - have the person hold both arms out and count to 10. Is there a difference in the strength of one arm over the other? If there is, this could be a sign of stroke.
Speech - have the person say something simple like "the cow jumped over the moon". Is there slurring or bad pronunciation of the consonants? If so, this could be a sign of stroke.
Time - what time did the symptoms start? Not 15 minutes ago, but exactly what time - to the best of your ability to determine?
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms, call 911 immediately - do NOT drive yourself to the hospital!
Learn the Signs and Symptoms
Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg (usually on one side)
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding others.
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes (blurry, spots or blindness).
Sudden dizziness, trouble walking or loss of coordination/balance.
Sudden trouble speaking of understanding speech.
Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
Know the Time
Note the EXACT time the symptoms begin.
- Stroke is one of the leading causes of death in the United States – 1 out every 20 deaths is caused by stroke.
- One American dies every 4 minutes from stroke.
- Almost 800,000 people in the Unites States have a stroke every year.
- Stroke has two different causes: a blocked blood vessel (artery) to the brain [called an ischemic (isk-em-ik) stroke] OR a busted blood vessel (artery) in the brain.
- Race does increase the risk of stroke. A person of Black ethnicity is more likely than a White to die from a stroke. Latinos fall between these two races in risk.
- The older you get, the more likely you are to have a stroke.
- Children can also have a stroke – for the same reasons adults have strokes (same risk factors).
- Men are more likely to have a stroke, but women are more likely to die from it.
- High blood pressure is the most common risk for stroke.
- High blood cholesterol is the second most common risk for stroke.
- Diabetes (high blood sugar) is the third most common risk for stroke.
- An irregular heart beat caused by Atrial Fibrillation or Atrial Flutter can directly cause a stroke by increasing the chance of a blood clot in the heart going directly to the brain.
- Smoking increases your chance of having a stroke.
- Family history of stroke increases your chance of having a stroke.
- A sedentary lifestyle (not much activity) increases your chance of stroke.
If you have any questions about stroke or would like free education for a group or association, please contact Stroke Services at (432) 211-1677 and ask for Sherron Meeks, Stroke Coordinator.