Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health

Stroke Prevention

stroke logA stroke (also called a brain attack) harms the brain the same way some heart attacks harm the heart. During a stroke, blood cannot get to part of the brain. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that brings oxygen and nutrients to the brain bursts or is clogged by a blood clot or some other particle. Because of this rupture or blockage, part of the brain doesn’t get the blood and oxygen it needs. Deprived of oxygen, nerve cells in the affected area of the brain die within minutes. This may cause symptoms, such as numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg or a sudden and severe headache. Some people have trouble walking, talking, or seeing. If you have any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately, just as you would if you were having a heart attack. If a stroke occurs, know what the symptoms of a stroke are. Be prepared to get medical help quickly if you have symptoms, even if they last for only a few seconds. The effects of stroke are serious. Fast treatment may result in better recovery.

  • Sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body
  • Sudden trouble walking, talking or seeing
  • Sudden and severe headache with no known cause

Are You at Risk for a Stroke?

Risk factors are things that make you more likely to have a health problem.  You are at risk for a stroke if you have high blood pressure.  But your risk is even greater if you have high blood pressure and are older than age 55.  Look at the risk factors below and identify those you can change.  Talk to your physician about ways to lower your risk.

  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking tobacco
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • African-American
  • Older than age 55
  • Temporary weakness on one side of your body, dizziness, or speech or vision problems
  • Male
  • Overweight
  • Previous stroke
  • Family history of stroke

Fast Action

911 graphicIf you think you are having a stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately.  Once in the hospital, you made have tests to find the location of the blockage.  Certain types of drugs called “clot busters” can help dissolve blood clots and restore blood flow.  This may save brain tissue affected by the stroke and reduce damage.  “Clot Busters” can only help if they are used within the first hours of a stroke.  Know the Signs.  Act in Time.

Call 9-1-1 Most symptoms of a TIA and stroke come on suddenly.  If you notice the following symptoms, don’t wait……

  • Sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body
  • Sudden trouble talking, walking, or seeing
  • Sudden and severe headache
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