A stroke is a potentially life-threatening medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted. This can happen due to a blockage, such as a clot, or bleeding in the brain. Without treatment, strokes can cause serious complications, including paralysis, cognitive problems and even death.
If you think someone may be having a stroke, it is important to act quickly and call emergency services. The sooner a person receives treatment, the better their chances of making a full recovery.
Signs and symptoms of a stroke
The signs and symptoms of a stroke can vary depending on the type of stroke and the part of the brain affected. However, there are some common signs and symptoms to look out for.
Some common signs and symptoms of a stroke include:
- Sudden onset of weakness or paralysis in the face, arm or leg (usually on one side of the body)
- Sudden onset of difficulty speaking or understanding others
- Sudden onset of blurred vision or loss of vision in one or both eyes
- Sudden onset of dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden onset of a severe headache with no known cause
If you experience any of these signs or symptoms, call emergency services immediately. Time is critical when it comes to treating a stroke.
Reducing your risk of stroke
There are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of having a stroke. Some simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference.
- Quit smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for strokes. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health.
- Eat a healthy diet: Eating a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated and trans fats can help reduce your risk of stroke.
- Exercise regularly: Getting regular exercise can help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, both of which are risk factors for stroke.
- Limit alcohol consumption: Drinking too much alcohol can increase your risk of stroke. If you drink, do so in moderation.
- Control your blood pressure: High blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke. If you have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about ways to control it.
- Control your diabetes: Diabetes doubles your risk of having a stroke. If you have diabetes, work with your doctor to keep it under control.
If you are at high risk for stroke, your doctor may also recommend medication to help reduce your risk.