Strokes cause damage to the brain by limiting or stopping blood flow, preventing oxygen and nutrients from getting to brain cells. Any stroke is serious, and can cause brain damage or death. But getting help quickly can give you a better shot at making a full recovery.
Your risk of having a stroke goes up as you age. The good news is, there are things you can do to lower your risk:
Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels healthy.
Lose weight, if needed.
Eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet.
Limit alcohol to one (for women) or two (for men) drinks a day.
Take preventive medication like aspirin, if your doctor suggests it.
Know the signs of stroke
Getting help quickly after a stroke can be the key to preventing death or serious disability. The best treatments only work if they are given within three hours of the first symptom. That’s why it’s so important to know the signs that someone is having a stroke.
Sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arm or leg, especially on only one side of the body.
Sudden confusion or trouble talking.
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance.
Sudden severe headache.
Sudden trouble seeing out of one or both eyes.
If you’re not sure whether someone is having a stroke, think F.A.S.T.
F – Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face droop?
A – Arms: Ask them to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S – Speech: Ask them to repeat a simple phrase. Does their speech sound slurred?
T – Time: If you see any of the signs, even if they start to go away, call 9-1-1 for an ambulance. Paramedics can start life- saving treatment on the way to the emergency room.
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