A stroke occurs when there’s bleeding into your brain or when normal blood flow to your brain is blocked. Within minutes of being deprived of essential nutrients, brain cells start dying — a process that may continue over the next several hours.
1. Seek immediate medical assistance. A stroke is a true emergency. The sooner treatment is given, the more likely it is that damage can be minimized. Every moment counts.
2. In the event of a possible stroke, use FAST to help remember warning signs.
A. Face. Does the face droop on one side trying to smile?
B. Arms. Is one arm lower when trying to raise both arms?
C. Speech. Can a simple sentence be repeated? Is speech slurred or strange?
D. Time. During a stroke every minute counts. If you observe any of these signs, call for medical help immediately
Other signs and symptoms of a stroke include:
Weakness or numbness on one side of your body including either leg
Dimness, blurring or loss of vision, particularly in one eye
Severe headache — a bolt out of the blue — with no apparent cause
Unexplained dizziness, unsteadiness or a sudden fall, especially if accompanied by any of the other signs or symptoms
Risk factors for stroke include having high blood pressure, having had a previous stroke, smoking, having diabetes and having heart disease. Your risk of stroke increases as you age.