A stroke is commonly referred to as a “brain attack”. It occurs when the blood supply to your brain is interrupted or reduced. Blood circulating through parts of your body provides oxygen to your organs. This circulation of oxygen is really important for proper functioning of your brain, heart, and lungs! As your brain is a sensitive organ and needs a constant supply of oxygen, an interruption of blood supply during a stroke would deprive the brain from oxygen. Within a few minutes, brain cells will begin to die.
Many factors can increase one’s risk of stroke. Some risk factors include being overweight or obese, physical inactivity, heavy or binge drinking, and use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines. Some medical risk factors include high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and personal or family history of stroke.
How can you decrease your chances of developing a stroke? Knowing your risk factors and adopting a healthy lifestyle can help you prevent a stroke. You should follow your doctor’s recommendations in controlling high blood pressure and cholesterol. General care measures such as quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise, and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help as well.
A stroke is a medical emergency and early treatment is crucial. Taking early action can minimize brain damage and potential complications that arise from this damage. There is a simple acronym, “FAST,” to help you quickly remember the symptoms of a stroke. Knowing these warning signs of stroke can save you or your friend or family’s life!
Use FAST to remember the warning signs of a stroke:
FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately!
Call 911 or your local emergency number right away and don’t wait to see if symptoms stop! Every minute counts and your actions are crucial; the longer a stroke is untreated, there is a greater potential for brain damage and/or disability. You can save lives of your loved ones by – remembering “FAST”!