Seconds count: Know the signs of a stroke
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.