According to the American Stroke Association, about 80% of all strokes are preventable. Understanding and recognizing the signs and symptoms of a stroke are key to helping your loved ones living in northern burbs of Highland Park, Evanston and Winnetka survive and hopefully minimize the side effects of the stroke.
Strokes occur when blood circulation to the brain is blocked and the brain does not get enough oxygen for cells to survive. When brain cells die, different functions such as speech and basic motor skills get disrupted. Even smaller strokes alter a person’s ability to function normally. That is why it is very critical to get help once a person shows any signs of a stroke. Larger strokes cause severe damage and ultimately lead to death.
A quick way to identify a stroke is to remember FAST:
Face – The victim may show drooping on one side of their face
Arm – Have them raise both arms in the air and see if one arm shows weakness
Speech – The victim may present with slurred speech
Time – Act FAST! Time is key – getting them help as soon as possible is critical
Other signs of a stroke to look out for include:
- weakness on one side of the body
- confusion or the inability to think
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- sudden vision changes
Some health factors that can cause strokes include high cholesterol, heart disease, artery disease and high blood pressure. Other factors that put people at risk for having a stroke include diabetes and irregular heartbeat.
Key factors to decrease the risk of strokes include:
- Maintain a heart-healthy diet
- Manage stress and mental health
- Quit smoking and alcohol use
- Stay active and walk
If you or a loved one has suffered from a stroke or care for someone who has had a stroke, the American Stroke Association provides support groups that can help you cope with the stress.