What is a stroke?  When blood flow to the brain is blocked, or a blood vessel in the brain ruptures that is known as a stroke. Anyone can have a stroke at any age. 

Risk factors which can be changed, treated, or medically managed include:

• High blood pressure

• Heart disease

• Diabetes

• Tobacco Use

• Birth Control pills

• Lack of exercise

• Obesity

Risk factors that can’t be changed:

• Older age

• Race

• Gender

• History of prior stroke

• Heredity or genetics

If you have one or more of the above factors, take proactive steps and visit your primary care provider to discuss what you can do to lower your risk for stroke.

It is important to know the signs of a stroke and get help quickly.  Stroke symptoms may happen suddenly and each person’s symptoms may vary.  These symptoms may include:

• Weakness of the face, arm, leg, usually on one side of the body

• Trouble speaking or understanding

• Vision problems

• Loss of consciousness

• Severe headaches with no known cause

• Sudden nausea

You need to seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of stroke even if they disappear.  Think “FAST” and do the following:

F: Face drooping. Ask the person to smile – is one side drooping?

A: Arm weakness. Ask the person to raise both arms – does one arm drift down?

S: Speech difficulty. Is the person’s speech slurred – do they have trouble saying a sentence?

T: Time to Call 911. If the person exhibits any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately