Are You Having a Stroke?
If you or someone around you suffers a sudden, severe headache (”The worst in your life.”) with no other cause, immediately followed by loss of consciousness or passing out, call 911.
Severe, sudden headache followed by unconsciousness indicates a stroke due to bleeding rather than a clot.
When to Call 911
If you have any of these warning signs or symptoms or observe them in someone else, call 911 immediately.
Is your face, arm, or leg numb on one side of your body?
Did you suddenly lose vision, strength, sensation, or coordination?
Are you having difficulty speaking or understanding speech?
Are the symptoms becoming worse over time?
Other symptoms include the following. Call 911 if you have any of these symptoms.
Sudden vision dimness, especially in one eye.
Loss of balance, possibly with nausea, vomiting, fever, hiccups, or trouble swallowing.
Brief loss of consciousness.
Unexplained dizziness or sudden falls.
A stroke occurs when the blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. Brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. Any abilities controlled by the affected brain area are lost, including memory and muscle control.
The level of impact of a stroke depends on its location and the amount of damage caused.
A person’s entire side may be permanently paralyzed by a major stroke. He or she may lose the ability to speak.
A minor stroke may only create small problems like a temporary weakness of an arm or leg.
Some people recover completely from a stroke, but about two-thirds of those surviving a stroke will have some disability.
Nearly 800,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke each year. In fact, a stroke happens to someone every 40 seconds. Every four minutes, someone dies from a stroke, and it is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. It is also the leading cause of adult disability in the nation.
However, up to 80% of strokes are preventable. Regular visits to your primary healthcare provider to monitor your blood pressure, blood chemistry, and weight can identify some of the common health issues leading to stroke.
- Hemorrhagic stroke – a weakened blood vessel in the brain leaks or an aneurysm bursts. This is the least common of the two types of stroke but is most likely to result in death.
- Ischemic stroke – a blood vessel carrying blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot (ischemia).
- TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) – When blood flow to part of the brain stops temporarily. A TIA mimics a stroke, and symptoms can appear and last less than 24 hours.