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Every minute matters with a stroke

Published in Neurology, For the Health of It Author: Muhammad Fareed K. Suri, MBBS

May is Stroke Awareness Month. Strokes are a leading cause of death and long-term disability in the United States. Every four minutes, someone in this country dies from a stroke.

During a stroke, something happens that disrupts the flow of blood to the brain. When this happens, brain cells are unable to get the oxygen they need. That’s why a stroke is sometimes called a brain attack.

When someone is experiencing a stroke, every moment matters. Brain cells can die or become damaged in minutes if unable to get oxygen. And some treatments that have been shown to improve the chances of recovering from a stroke need to be started within three hours of one showing stroke symptoms.

While the risk of having a stroke is higher in some families than in others, anyone can have a stroke at any age.

The signs of a stroke include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, or in one arm or leg.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or a lack of coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

If you or someone you see experiences any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.