A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain stops due to a clot, causing brain cells to stop receiving oxygen.
Know the signs of a stroke. Similar to a heart attack, stroke is a “brain attack.” Time lost during an attack equals brain cells lost.
If you or a loved one has sudden onset of stroke symptoms, remember to act FAST:
F: Face drooping. Ask the person to smile. Is one side of the smile drooping?
A: Arm weakness or numbness, particularly on one side of the body. Ask the person to lift both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S: Speech that is slurred or difficult to understand. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Do the words come out clearly?
T: Time to call 911. If the person shows any of these signs, call 911 immediately.
Types of stroke
There are several types of stroke and stroke-related conditions:
- Ischemic stroke, when a blood vessel becomes blocked
- Hemorrhagic stroke, when a blood vessel in the brain leaks or bursts (such as during a brain aneurysm rupture)
- Transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as a “mini-stroke,” when a blood vessel is blocked for a short time
The following increase a person’s risk of stroke:
- High cholesterol levels
- High blood pressure (also known as hypertension)
- Atrial fibrillation
- Congestive heart failure
Stroke survivors are at greater risk of having another stroke. Subsequent strokes can be more deadly and debilitating than the initial attack.