Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability and the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, with more than 800,000 strokes occurring each year. Some risk factors for stroke include high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, tobacco use, drug abuse, or lack of exercise.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke is a "brain attack” that occurs when blood flow to an area of brain is cut off. When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control are lost.
In life, we’re often told to slow down and take our time. In some instances — such as if you are experiencing stroke symptoms — you must BE FAST.
"BE FAST" if You Experience Symptoms
Remember these signs and symptoms to get help as soon as possible during a stroke:
- B - Balance: Loss of balance, dizziness
- E - Eyes: Blurred or loss of vision
- F - Facial Droop: One side of the face is drooping, uneven smile
- A - Arm Weakness: One arm is weak or numb
- S - Slurred Speech: Speech is slurred or total loss of speech
- T - Time to Call 9-1-1: Call 9-1-1 if any of these symptoms occur
What Can Cause a Stroke?
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Physical inactivity
- Carotid artery disease
- Cigarette smoking
- Heart disease
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Too much alcohol over time
- Previous stroke or mini strokes
- Illegal drug use
How to Prevent a Stroke
- Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke
- Improve your eating habits & eat foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and added sugars
- Be physically active
- Take your medicine as directed
- Get your blood pressure checked regularly and work with your healthcare provider to manage it if it’s high
- Reach and maintain a healthy weight
- Decrease your stress level
- Seek emotional support when it’s needed
- Have regular medical checkups