Stroke: Symptoms and Treatments
Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the U.S. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year. (Source: American Heart Association/American Stroke Association)
What is a stroke?
An ischemic stroke happens when an artery in the brain is blocked by a blood clot causing diminished blood flow and oxygen to that area of the brain.
A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel bursts and causes bleeding in the brain. A brain aneurysm is a common cause of hemorrhagic stroke.
What are the signs and symptoms of a stroke?
Remembering the acronym BE-FAST may help you recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke for yourself or someone else. Call 9-1-1 immediately so treatment can be given quickly. Being fast to seek medical attention may be the difference between ability and disability or even life and death.
BE-FAST most common stroke symptoms
- Balance: Sudden loss of balance, trouble walking or dizziness
- Eyes: Sudden loss of vision or trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Face: Sudden drooping, numbness or weakness
- Arms: Sudden arm or leg weakness especially on one side of the body
- Speech: Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, slurred speech or confusion
- Time: Every second counts!
A sudden severe headache with no known cause may also be a sign of stroke.
Stroke risk factors include:
- Atrial Fibrillation
- Carotid Artery Disease
- High blood cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Peripheral Artery Disease
- Physical inactivity
What are the treatment options for stroke?
Treatment for stroke depends on the type of stroke and how soon you seek treatment.
- Medication treatment for ischemic stroke. Alteplase IV r-tPA dissolves a clot and improves blood flow to the brain.
- Some stroke care may require endovascular interventional treatment to remove or dislodge the clot and restore blood flow.
- Surgery may be recommended to remove or dissolve blood clots and stop bleeding in the brain.