Warning Signs of Possible Stroke

There are several warning signs of possible stroke:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or difficulty understanding others
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Think FAST

If you or someone you're with has any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 or get yourself or them to a hospital immediately. Staff in the emergency department will administer acute stroke medications to try to stop a stroke while it is happening. Ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke, is treated with the 'clot-busting' drug known as tPA. The drug must be given to patients within three- to four-and-a-half hours after the onset of stroke symptoms, and preferably sooner.

Use the acronym FAST to quickly identify possible strokes:

F = FACE
Smile. Does one side of the face droop? Can you see the same number of teeth on each side of the face?

A = ARMS
Hold up both arms for 10 seconds. Does one drift downward?

S = SPEECH
Repeat a simple sentence. Is the speech slurred or strange? Can you understand the person?

T = TIME
If these signs are present, every second counts. Call 9-1-1 immediately.

Stroke Risk Factors 

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • High Cholesterol
  • Heart Disease
  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Smoking (including second-hand smoke)
  • Heavy alcohol usage
  • Physical inactivity
  • Being overweight
  • Use of birth control pills, anticoagulants, and steroids
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Heart conditions such as atrial fibrillation, endocarditis, and cardiomyopathy

Preventing Stroke

The best way to keep your brain healthy is to avoid a stroke in the first place. The best ways to prevent stroke are to do the following:

  • Keep your blood pressure controlled through lifestyle changes and/or medications
  • Don't smoke or stop smoking
  • Take steps to manage your cholesterol
  • Limit your alcohol consumption
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

Learn more about stroke services at Spring Valley Hospital >

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