A stroke is an emergency requiring immediate medical attention. Strokes happen when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, causing brain cells to begin dying from lack of oxygenated blood.
If you experience any of the stroke signs, or identify the signs in someone else, act F.A.S.T. and dial 911. Use the National Stroke Association’s F.A.S.T. test to help you remember the warning signs and symptoms of stroke:
Facial weakness – can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
Arm weakness – can the person raise both arms?
Speech problems – can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
Time to call 911
Use F.A.S.T. to help you remember the signs.
- 130,000 Americans are killed by stroke, that’s 1 out of every 19 deaths.
- On average, one American dies from stroke every 4 minutes.
- Every year, 795,000 people in the U.S. have a stroke.
- About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes.
- About 87% of all strokes are ischemic stroke.
What happens during a stroke?
During a stroke, the blood supply to the brain is interrupted. Brain cells in the immediate area begin to die because they stop receiving the oxygen and nutrients they need to function. This is why immediate medical attention is necessary.
There are 2 major kinds of stroke:
Ischemic Stroke -The most common, which is caused by a blood clot that blocks or plugs a blood vessel or artery in the brain. These types of strokes may be treated with a drug called tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), which dissolves blood clots, if patients receive care within 4.5 hours of the onset.
Hemorrhagic Stroke – The second major type, which is caused by a blood vessel breaking and bleeding into the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes cannot be treated with tPA. Instead, surgery is often performed to help relieve the pressure or blood clots caused by this type of stroke. In both cases, time is of the essence for successful treatment.