Warning Signs of a Stroke

While coronary heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the nation. Understanding the symptoms and signs of a stroke is important not only in saving lives, but also in preserving quality of life.

A stroke is the sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen. Strokes can happen when blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the brain are blocked or burst. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it starts to die.

According to the American Stroke Association, these are the most common warning signs of a stroke:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Rapid diagnosis and treatment given within three hours of the first sign of a stroke can reduce the long-term effects of the most-common type of stroke. Like a heart attack, treatment can only work if you give yourself the chance by recognizing your symptoms and getting prompt medical care.


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