How Do I Know If I’m Having a Stroke?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, killing nearly 130,000 Americans each year. And every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke.

A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, occurs when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients in order to function. Even a brief interruption in blood supply can cause problems.

Seven Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke

Symptoms of a stroke may be sudden and include:

  • Weakness of numbness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Confusion or difficulty speaking or understanding
  • Problems with vision, such as dimness or loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Dizziness or problems with balance or coordination
  • Problems with movement or walking
  • Loss of consciousness or seizure
  • Severe headaches with no other known cause, especially if sudden onset

Each individual may experience symptoms differently so do not ignore any of the warning signs. Take action immediately and call 911.  Stroke is an emergency and should be treated as such. The greatest chance for recovery from stroke occurs when emergency treatment is started immediately.

Shrinking Stroke Risk with Seven Lifestyle Changes

You can help prevent stroke by making healthy lifestyle choices. According to a study published in the journal Stroke, adhering to the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7:

  • Get active
  • Control cholesterol
  • Eat better
  • Manage blood pressure
  • Lose weight
  • Reduce blood sugar
  • Stop smoking

To learn more about risk factors for stroke that may be changed or managed, click here.

To see animation of what happens during a stroke, click here.