A stroke can be caused by either a blood clot or a ruptured blood vessel to the brain. Eighty percent of strokes can be prevented. “The first step is knowledge about your health,” says Michelle, an ambassador for the American Heart Association’s Power to End Stroke campaign.
“Since my dad and my grandmother have had strokes, I’m more aware of my diet and make sure to exercise regularly. And I know the warning signs. We all should.”
To spot the sudden signs of stroke, remember F.A.S.T.:
1. Face Drooping
Does one side of the face droop, or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the smile uneven?
2. Arm Weakness
Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.
4. Time to Call 911
If any of these symptoms occur, call 911 immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared. A clot-busting drug may improve chances of recovery, but only if you get help right away. A person having a stroke might also experience confusion, trouble seeing, dizziness or difficulty walking.
The sooner the treatment, the less chance of serious damage to the brain and permanent disability. “Don’t ignore the warning signs, even if there is just one, or if the symptoms are mild or go away,” Michelle says. “Call 911. Every minute counts!”
Read Michelle’s story about her family history with stroke.
Watch as Michelle discusses stroke preventiion and treatment.
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