Knowing the symptoms of a stroke is important as people are likely to recognize them in another person as well as themselves.
The sooner, the better
The good news about a stroke is that it can be successfully treated. But there's a catch. For the best outcome, a stroke must be diagnosed and treated within about three hours after symptoms begin. Only about 3 to 5 percent of stroke patients arrive at a hospital within three hours after the onset of symptoms.
Time is brain
A stroke takes place when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked by a clot or bursts. Without blood or oxygen, brain tissue starts to die.
"Heart attack" is a common term, denoting the seriousness of the situation and the need to act immediately to save someone's life. "Brain attack" is a term now being used for stroke by medical centers across the country. the importance of recognizing the symptoms and treating the brain are as every bit important as helping someone's heart. Without proper early intervention, the patient may lose vital circulation to the brain.
The message is clear: Time is brain. If you notice symptoms of a stroke, call 911 immediately.
Heed the often-painless signs
If time is vital, why do people hesitate to seek help during a stroke?
Recognizing the signs of a stroke and treating it as a medical emergency are crucial. Still, prevention is even better. Risk factors including high blood pressure, smoking, heart disease, and diabetes increase the risk for stroke. So do transient ischemic attacks, or TIAs. TIAs are "mini-strokes" with the same symptoms of stroke but which last just minutes.
A stroke can occur at any time, but the risk rises with age. Uncontrolled hypertension is a major cause of strokes. African Americans have a greater risk for death from stroke. That's partly because African Americans have higher risks for high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.
Symptoms of a stroke
In a stroke, every second counts. Know these symptoms and call 911 if you see or have any of them:
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, or sudden onset of double vision
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
Sudden, severe headache with no known cause