Stroke is the Number One cause of preventable disability in the United States, and is the Number One cause of death worldwide. A stroke consists of localized neurological deficits such as arm weakness, usually related to decreased blood flow. Understanding the risk factors and symptoms of stroke is the first step in lowering our risk and reducing its potentially devastating results.
The brain is our body’s command center. It controls speech, memory, movement and feeling. The brain receives oxygenated blood from our arteries. If an artery becomes blocked or bursts, a stroke can occur. When blood flow to the brain is interrupted, the tissue in the affected part of the brain can die. That is why a stroke can impact any of the functions it is responsible for controlling, causing paralysis, weakness or other symptoms.
Risk factors for stroke include:
- High blood pressure
- Aatrial fibrillation
- Smoking – doubles the risk of stroke
- High cholesterol and/or high triglycerides
- A high sodium diet
- Circulation problems
- Lack of regular exercise
Symptoms of a stroke include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing from one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble with balance, coordination or walking
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
A stroke is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Call 911 if you believe someone is having a stroke.