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When stroke symptoms begin, every second counts. Starting appropriate treatment immediately can help to prevent the devastating effects of this disease that is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability in the United States.
Adventist Health’s specialized stroke team works together to individualize the care of each patient while following the guidelines of the American Stroke Association. These guidelines have been shown to improve the outcomes of patients who have a stroke.
Stroke warning signs
Use FAST to remember the warning signs if you notice odd symptoms in someone:
- Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
- Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
- Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.
The first hour a stroke occurs is referred to as “the golden hour.” Patients treated during the golden hour have a better chance of making a full recovery. There is no time to wait when a stroke occurs. Get yourself or your loved one to a hospital as soon as you see the signs of a stroke.
A stroke occurs when a blood clot cuts off circulation to the brain. This prevents oxygen from reaching the brain and kills brain cells. A stroke can also be caused by a brain aneurysm that bursts open. This is called a hemorrhagic stroke and is the less common form of stroke.
Strokes are tied to your cardiovascular health. Heart disease and high blood pressure increase your risk of suffering a stroke. Unfortunately, these conditions do not necessarily come with any noticeable symptoms. That means the only way to know you have them is to continue regular checkups with your doctor and ask about your cardiovascular health. You can reduce your risk of stroke by exercising, eating healthfully and keeping track of your blood pressure.