Stroke: 5 Essential Facts You Should Know

Elderly woman assisted by a doctor

Elderly woman assisted by a doctorStroke, according to the National Institutes of Health, is the fifth leading cause of the death in the United States. In facts, statistics suggest about 795,000 individuals in the country have a stroke every year. This only makes it important to know the risk factors and warning signs to treat or prevent stroke.

Neurology centers in St. George share the essential stroke facts you should know about:

1. No one is too young to have a stroke

While your risk increases as you age, anyone (regardless of age) can have a stroke. Young adults, teens, kids, and even babies can be a victim of this disease because of certain health conditions, such as abnormalities in the blood vessel, congenital heart defects, and others.

2. There are two main types of strokes

These are ischemic and hemorrhagic. The former happens when a clot impedes the flow of blood to the brain, while the latter occurs due to a ruptured vessel that causes blood leaks into the brain. Depending on which brain area is affected, stroke can cause cognitive difficulties, sight and speech problems, paralysis, and personality changes.

3. HBP is the leading cause of stroke

High blood pressure is also one of the most controllable risk factors for stroke. This is why if you have HBP, it is only important to have it under control. You can do this with lifestyle changes, which include reducing salt intake, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, limiting alcohol intake, and avoiding tobacco. You should also take your medication as prescribed.

4. Stroke is preventable and treatable

Up to 80% of stroke cases, according to the National Stroke Association, are preventable. While some risk factors are beyond your control, you can lower your risk with healthy lifestyle changes like eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking. There are also medical devices and clot-busting drugs that can treat stroke. Hospital evaluation and treatment within the first few hours of the first symptom is important.

5. Fast response is crucial

Making the decision to seek help or call 911 is important when someone is having a stroke. Stroke symptoms vary from person to person, but common signs include sudden dizziness or weakness, numbness or paralysis on one side of the body, and trouble walking and breathing. You should also know the acronym FAST, which refers to — face drooping (one side), arm weakness, speech difficulties (speech is slurred), and time to call 911 if you notice these symptoms.

Learn more about stroke and its warning signs. If you suspect that someone is having a stroke, call 911 right away to begin treatment and minimize damage to the brain.