Stroke is a disease that affects the blood circulation to and in the brain. It is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States.
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts (or ruptures). When that happens part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs causing brain cell death.
About 795,000 Americans each year suffer a new or recurrent stroke. Stroke kills nearly 129,000 people each year. About 40% of stroke deaths occur in males, and 60% in females.
Early treatment can reduce brain damage. Other treatments limit complications and reduce risk of future strokes. Rehabilitation treatments used to reduce long term disability include: physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and recreational therapy.
Many patients with stroke also develop depression. Depression responds to antidepressant treatment. There is evidence that some antidepressants may help improve motor recovery.
The more you know, the more you can do to prevent strokes and reduce the complications of stroke. Do you know the signs of stroke? Do you know what to do if your family member or friend is having a stroke?
FAST is an easy way to remember and identify the most common symptoms of a stroke. Recognition of stroke and calling 9-1-1 will determine how quickly someone will receive help and treatment. Getting to a hospital rapidly will more likely lead to a better recovery. Time is Brain!
F stands for FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A stands for ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S stands for SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is speech slurred or strange?
T stands for TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately. Note the time of the first symptom.
This information is important and can affect treatment decisions. Time is Brain!