strokeAs you age, stroke risk increases. It’s important to know the signs of this debilitating disease, so you can be prepared as possible to save someone’s life – or even your own.

If you find yourself in this situation, remember to act fast and get medical help as soon as possible.

What Is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs from a blockage in the blood supply to the brain. Specifically, when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients is disrupted or suddenly bursts, this medical emergency can result.

According to the American Stroke Association, this disease is the fifth most common cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States.

Common Causes of Stroke

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out you can have a stroke at any age, yet there are a few factors that put someone at greater risk:

  • High Blood Pressure – Hypertension is the biggest cause of strokes.
  • Smoking or Chewing Tobacco – Nicotine can raise your blood pressure.
  • Heart Disease – If your arteries or valves are defective, they leave you more at risk.
  • Medications – Some medication can put you at higher risk. It’s important to talk to your doctor about all possible side effects of your medication, before taking it.
  • Genetics – If you have family history of stroke, you are more likely to experience one.

Signs of a Stroke

One of your best defenses against stroke is to be prepared. Here are some of the ways you can recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke:

  • Sudden weakness in the face or extremities, especially on one side of your body.
  • Sudden trouble with speech or understanding other people speaking.
  • General confusion.
  • Sight issues in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden difficulty walking, loss of balance, dizziness.
  • Sudden severe headache for an unknown reason.

F.A.S.T. Test

According to the CDC, acting F.A.S.T. is key to help you combat the damaging effects of a stroke. If you believe someone may be having a stroke, do the following:

  • Face: Ask the person to smile. Is one side of the mouth drooping?
  • Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Is one moving downward?
  • Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does it sound strange or slurred?
  • Time: If you see any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

If you are alone and believe you’re experiencing any of these signs, call for help right away. It is always better to be safe than sorry to prevent potential brain damage or worse.

Although your risk increases with age, anyone can have a stroke. Be prepared and know the best course of action to take in a situation where someone, or yourself, may be having one.
If you would like more information or are interested in short-term rehabilitation after you or a loved one experienced a stroke, contact Avon Health Center today.