According to the CDC, every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke, and every 3.5 minutes, someone dies of a stroke. In many cases a stroke can be prevented or the harm done can be reduced if one better understands what a stroke is and how to identify one in time to get help.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted. This can be due to a blocked artery or bleeding in the brain. When this happens, the lack of oxygen and nutrients causes brain cells to die says the CDC.
There are three primary types of strokes:
- Transient ischemic attack (TIA) involves a blood clot that typically reverses on its own.
- Ischemic stroke involves a blockage caused by either a clot or plaque in the artery. The symptoms and complications of ischemic stroke can last longer than those of a TIA or may become permanent.
- Hemorrhagic stroke is caused by either a burst or leaking blood vessel that seeps into the brain.
Symptoms of a Stroke
The loss of blood flow to the brain damages tissues within the brain. Symptoms of a stroke show up in the body parts controlled by the damaged areas of the brain.
The sooner a person having a stroke gets care, the better their outcome is likely to be. For this reason, it’s helpful to know the signs of a stroke so you can act quickly. Stroke symptoms can include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body)
- Confusion or trouble understanding other people
- Trouble speaking or understanding others
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
- Severe headache with no known cause
If you or someone else exhibit any of these signs, call 911 right away.
Risk Factors for a Stroke
Many things can increase your risk of stroke. Some of these are modifiable risk factors, which means you can change them. Other stroke risk factors are non-modifiable, meaning you cannot change them.
Talk with your health care team about making changes to your lifestyle.
- Eating a diet high in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol has been linked to stroke and related conditions, such as heart disease. Also, getting too much salt (sodium) in the diet can raise blood pressure levels.
- Not getting enough physical activity can lead to other health conditions that can raise the risk for stroke. These health conditions include obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Regular physical activity can lower your chances for stroke.
- Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure levels and the risk for stroke. It also increases levels of triglycerides, a form of fat in your blood that can harden your arteries.
- Tobacco use increases the risk for stroke. Cigarette smoking can damage the heart and blood vessels, increasing your risk for stroke. Nicotine raises blood pressure. Carbon monoxide from cigarette smoke reduces the amount of oxygen that your blood can carry. Exposure to secondhand smoke can make you more likely to have a stroke.
If you suspect you may be experiencing symptoms of a stroke, seek emergency medical treatment as soon as possible. Early treatment is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of long-term complications and disability.
About Adams County Regional Medical Center
Adams County Regional Medical Center is a 25-bed critical access hospital located near Seaman, Ohio, just 60 miles east of Cincinnati. Adams County Regional Medical Center is a viable and growing state-of-the-art health care facility meeting the needs of Adams County and the surrounding communities, providing a full range of services, including inpatient and outpatient amenities. Adams County Regional Medical Center is Joint Commission certified, focusing on the importance of patient care and organized functions that are essential to providing safe, high-quality care.