According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), stroke, which is caused when blood flow is constricted to the brain, is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. That is why it is important to educate yourself on the causes and symptoms of stroke and what preventive measures you can take to avoid suffering from one.
But before we continue, it’s important to note that there are two types of stroke:
Ischemic stroke occurs when arteries are blocked by blood clots or by the gradual build-up of plaque and other fatty deposits. About 87% of all strokes are ischemic.
Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain breaks leaking blood into the brain. The risk of death is higher in hemorrhagic strokes, however this type of stroke is only responsible for approximately 13% of strokes.
There are many contributing factors that are related to having a stroke. Treatable factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity, sleep apnea, the use of birth control pills and cigarette smoking. Many of these factors can be reduced through lifestyle changes or managed through the use of proper medication.
There are some genetics-based factors that put people at risk. People who have a family history of heart disease or stroke, are fifty-five or older, African Americans, and males have an increased risk for stroke.
What are the symptoms of a stroke?
Symptoms of a stroke can include numbness or paralysis in the face, arm, or leg; slurred speech; difficulty understanding people; and dizziness or loss of balance. If you believe that someone is suffering from a stroke, but need to confirm the symptoms, you can utilize the FAST method. FAST stands for:
Face – ask the person to smile to see if one side of the face droops
Arms – Ask the person to raise both arms and look to see if one side falls downward
Speech – Check for slurred speech by asking the person to repeat a series of words or a sentence
Time – If the person shows the above symptoms, act quickly and call 911 immediately
If you’re unsure, just remember that it’s always better to be safe than sorry – call 911 if in doubt.