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Top Symptoms of a Stroke You Must Know

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May is National Stroke Awareness Month and Ochsner Health is providing tips on stroke prevention and treatment. Do you know the symptoms of a stroke?

According to the American Stroke Association, someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. That translates into nearly 800,000 people each year. In addition, every four minutes, someone dies of a stroke. To learn more about your stroke risk, take our stroke risk assessment today.

The simplest way to help prevent a stroke is to take care of yourself and maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating well and exercising daily. Patients should control the diseases that make them more likely to have a stroke, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. It is also extremely important to also avoid smoking, drinking in excess and using illicit drugs.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain "clogs" up, depriving brain tissue of blood and nutrients it needs. The result is that thousands of brain cells begin to die almost immediately and that affects motor skills, coordination, speech and comprehension. An easy way to remember the signs and symptoms of stroke is by learning the BE FAST acronym:

  • B is for balance – Is the person unable to maintain proper balance?
  • E is for eyes – Is the vision affected? Are the eyes deviated to one side?
  • F is for face – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb?
  • A is for arms – Is one arm weak or numb?
  • S is for speech – Is speech slurred?
  • T is for time – If a person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, it’s time to call 911 and get them to a hospital immediately

Other stroke symptoms include: sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg; sudden confusion; trouble speaking or understanding speech; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking; dizziness or loss of balance; and sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Treatment for stroke symptoms is often a race against the clock. It’s a fact that patients who receive medical intervention within 60 minutes of experiencing stroke symptoms have the greatest chances of survival. Ochsner Health and its partners offer a unique Telestroke Program, which joins experts from both facilities to consult immediately with Ochsner vascular neurologists 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, using telemedicine equipment to determine the best treatment options for stroke patients. The Ochsner Telestroke Program includes more than 55 participating hospitals throughout Louisiana and Mississippi.

Ochsner Medical Center’s Ochsner Neuroscience Institute is the only program within Louisiana and Mississippi to be listed in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings as one of the top 50 neurology and neurosurgery programs in the country.

Take our online quiz to find out whether you're at risk for a stroke.

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