Someone in the United States dies of a stroke every four minutes. And, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds. One-third of the stroke victims are younger than age 65.
These startling statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should signal everyone to recognize and to prevent strokes.
Risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and certain blood disorders. Other factors that increase the likelihood of a stroke include physical inactivity, smoking, obesity and excessive alcohol and drug use.
“You need to know the signs of stroke so you can head to the Emergency Department if it happens to you or a loved one,” says Andrew Godbey, MD, MSPH, neurologist, Saint Francis Medical Partner.
A person having a stroke may exhibit numbness or weakness on one side of the body, confusion, trouble seeing or walking, a severe headache or speech difficulties.
Strokes happen fast. It is important to recognize the signs of a stroke and call 911 immediately if someone begins to show signs of a stroke.
To help determine if someone is having a stroke, remember FAST.
- Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop or is it numb?
- Arm: Ask the person to raise both arms. Is one weak or numb?
- Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Is their speech slurred or strange?
- Time: Time to call 911.