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Do You Know How to Recognize the Signs of a Stroke?

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What exactly is a stroke?

A stroke takes place when a blood vessel carrying nutrients and oxygen to the brain bursts or is blocked by a blood clot. When this occurs, the brain does not receive the oxygen and blood it needs to function and brain cells begin to die. Delaying immediate action when you or a loved one experiences a stroke can lead to permanent damage to the brain, long-term disability, or even death.

Strokes can be grouped into two categories:

Ischemic stroke (blocked artery) – This happens when the blood flow within a brain artery is blocked by a blood clot. In a matter of moments, brain cells start to die off due to a lack of oxygen. Nearly 87% of strokes that occur are ischemic.

Hemorrhagic stroke (ruptured artery) – This happens when a blood vessel in the brain bursts and an overflow of blood then leaks into the brain and begins to damage cells. Almost 13% of strokes that occur are hemorrhagic.

To reduce the risk of damage to the brain or further complications, it’s vital to treat a stroke as an urgent matter and seek emergency care right away by calling 9-1-1.


Stroke stats you need to know in 2022:

  • In America, a person has a stroke every 40 seconds.
  • Almost 1 in 4 strokes happen to individuals who have had a stroke before.
  • Strokes are one of the top causes of long-term disability.
  • Over half of stroke survivors 65 years of age and above have had a decrease in mobility afterwards.
  • 1 out of 6 heart disease deaths were from a stroke, in 2020.


Who is most at risk for a stroke?

Common risk factors that put individuals at a higher chance for a stroke include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes 
  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease 
  • Smoking 

The CDC reports that while the risk of having a stroke increases with age, 38% of individuals who were hospitalized due to a stroke in 2014 were less than 65 years old.


Signs and symptoms

Unsure of what the signs of a stroke might look like? Always remember, think “FAST”!

Use the F.A.S.T. acronym to identify the  signs of a stroke and act quickly:

F (Face drooping): Is one side of the person’s face numb or drooping? To determine, ask them to smile.

A (Arm weakness): Is there a numb or weak feeling in one arm? To determine, ask the person to lift both of their arms up. 

S (Speech difficulty): Are their words slurred when they speak?

T (Time to call): Call 9-1-1 right away. 

Other symptoms of stroke can include confusion when talking or listening, sight problems in one or both eyes, trouble walking or balancing, an unexplained severe headache, and numbness in the limbs, face, or on one side of the body.

It’s important to also make note of the time symptoms first appeared to help emergency health professionals select the right choice of treatment to increase survival and decrease damage.

Patients who receive emergency care within the first 3 hours of having symptoms often experience less disability than those who received delayed care.


Prevention steps you can take

According to the American Heart Association, 80% of strokes can be prevented. Teaming up with your primary care provider can significantly reduce your risk of suffering a stroke. Your provider can collaborate with you to keep diabetes in check, take care of heart disease, monitor cholesterol levels, check blood pressure, help identify healthy lifestyle changes to incorporate physical activity and proper nutrition, form a tailored plan for any necessary medications, and much more! 

Have you been seen for your annual physical yet this year? Choose a location below and text us to schedule your appointment! 

  • West Plano Medical Village: Text (469) 382-4891
  • Independence Medical Village: Text (469) 382-3548
  • McKinney Medical Village: Text (469) 382-3717
  • Frisco Medical Village: Text (469) 382 - 3415


* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.