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Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A stroke happens when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked or bursts. Knowing the health risks and signs can help you prevent, identify, and reduce the effects of a stroke.
What are some of the key symptoms of a stroke?
Symptoms of a stroke appear abruptly and without warning. A stroke may cause sudden weakness or numbness, trouble with vision or speaking, confusion, or a severe headache. If you or someone you know has these symptoms, even if they go away quickly, you should call 911 immediately.
What are the BE FAST stroke warning signs?
BE FAST is a simple way to remember the main symptoms and things you should do during a stroke.
- Balance - Is the person suddenly having trouble with balance or coordination?
- Eyes - Is the person experiencing suddenly blurred or double vision or a sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes?
- Face drooping - Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
- Arm weakness - Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech - Is speech slurred, they are unable to speak, or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, "The sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?
- Time - If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get them to the hospital immediately.
What are some healthy lifestyle changes that may lower your risk of a stroke?
Strokes are the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S. — but they’re often preventable. To reduce your risk of a stroke, you can:
- Work with your doctor to manage any health problems you may have, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
- Don’t smoke. If you need help quitting, talk with your doctor.
- Limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day.
- Get active. Aim for 30 minutes per day — walking is a good choice.
- Eat healthy foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, lean meat, fish, and whole grains.
Mental and emotional wellness are important parts of your total health. With rates of reported mental conditions on the rise, it’s important to take care of your mind as well as your body. That means living a healthy lifestyle, paying attention to how you feel, and doing simple things to improve your well-being. If you or a loved one needs help, start with these tips below:
Speak up if you’re struggling. Be honest with the people in your life about how you’re feeling. They can’t help unless they know you need their support.
Talk to your doctor. They can connect you with support and help you access care for depression, anxiety, addiction and recovery, and more — without a referral.
Seek treatment. Help is available and effective. If you don’t know where to start, talk to your care team and let them connect you to the support you need.
Mental health and wellness resources:
- Mental health content center with information about accessing care and more
- Addiction care content center with information about accessing care and more
- Depression, stress, alcohol, drug, and predict teen use assessments for early intervention
- Health classes and support groups
- Personalized healthy lifestyle programs
- Wellness coaching by phone for stress and sleep
- Most prescriptions mailed to your door (requires sign-on)
- Self-care apps for meditation, mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy
- Self-care resources to help manage depression, reduce stress, improve sleep, and more
- Find Your Words resilience and community mental health support resources
For mental health care appointments, call 1-833-KP-WITH-U (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.)
Prevention is about staying healthy, and preventing or delaying disease. Wellness is living your best life. Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles is here to help you stay healthy and live your best life. There are many things you can do to take an active role in your prevention plan to stay healthy and thrive through all stages of life.