When one of the blood vessels that keep the brain supplied with oxygen gets blocked or bursts, the brain doesn’t get the oxygen it needs to function, resulting in a stroke. Within one minute, nerve cells start dying and as they die, the brain and body functions they controlled stop working. Although your body replaces dead cells everywhere else in your body, brain cells are NOT replaced, which means that any and all damage done by a stroke may be permanent.

Symptoms of a Stroke

Strokes generally don’t give you much advance notice. Symptoms come on suddenly and unexpectedly and they can include:

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.
-Women may report unique stroke symptoms such as sudden face and limb pain, hiccups, nausea, general weakness, chest pain, shortness of breath, and palpitations (trembling or shaking).

Treating and Preventing Stroke

Stroke is a very serious and sometimes fatal occurrence. If you think you or someone you know may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T., and do these simple tests:

F-FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A-ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S-SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is his or her speech slurred or strange?

T-TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Remember the damage cause by a stroke is PERMANENT and gets worse with each passing second. If someone is having a stroke, it is important to get medical treatment ASAP as medication can help to reduce stroke damage.

Taken from “HEARTBEAT Cardiovascular Disease: What you can do to improve your heart health” booklet by Armin Brott

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