• By Cynthia Weiss

World Stroke Day spreads the word about signs of stroke

October 29, 2020
a middle-aged African American man holding his chest and leaning against a wall, maybe a heart attach or stroke

World Stroke Day is Thursday, Oct 29. Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide. In the U.S., almost 800,000 people have a stroke annually.

stroke can occur when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or severely reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die. 

"A stroke is a medical emergency. Knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke, and seeking prompt medical attention, can make all the difference in terms of survival and recovery," says Dr. David A. Miller, director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

Signs of stroke include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arms or legs, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or difficulty understanding speech.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or lack of coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Though the risk for stroke rises with age, Dr. Miller says anyone at any age can suffer a stroke.

"If any of these symptoms happen, no matter how old you are, don't wait; call 911," says Dr. Miller. "Due to concerns around COVID-19, many people are skeptical to come to the hospital, but the faster we can diagnose and treat a stroke, the better the outcome."

Reduce your risk for stroke by focusing on lifestyle changes, including managing blood pressurediabetes and cholesterol. And if you still smoke, stop.

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