Even though people know what a stroke is, it’s still essential to review the symptoms and risk factors to save lives.

A fast reaction to stroke can make a massive difference in the outcome. Unfortunately, the majority of the 65,000 Americans who are estimated to have a stroke this month won’t be aware of the symptoms and risks. Let’s have a closer look at how stroke is identified, and what you can do to prevent it.

Symptoms of a Stroke

It’s essential to be able to recognize the signs of a stroke so you could react to them quickly. More often than not, the symptoms of stroke tend to affect one side of the body and appear very suddenly. They may include:

  • Facial drooping
  • Decreased strength in one arm or leg
  • Double vision
  • Dizziness and vertigo
  • Acute imbalance
  • Slurred speech
  • Sudden headache or neck pain
  • Numbness and loss of sensation on one side of the body

It might be too difficult to remember all of these symptoms, so in those cases, we use the acronym FAST to help identify them:

  • F – Face: uneven smile or facial drooping and numbness;
  • A – Arm: difficulty walking and holding an arm up;
  • S – Speech: difficulty speaking and coming up with words;
  • T – Time: time is of the essence, and a fast reaction is crucial.

If you notice any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

Risk Factors and Prevention of Stroke

A healthy lifestyle is the best way to keep the risk factors in check and prevent a stroke. However, this might be a challenge in today’s world of long work hours, high-stress environments, and the full availability of unhealthy fast food. One of the significant risk factors is high blood pressure or hypertension, which can quadruple your risk of getting a stroke. You should aim to have a blood pressure of less than 135/85 to decrease your risk of stroke. To make that happen, it’s essential that you reduce your salt intake, introduce more healthy food into your diet, and exercise daily.

These practices will serve you well in keeping other risk factors in check as well, such as obesity and diabetes. Smoking, drinking, and not exercising enough are risk factors themselves. In keeping yourself safe from stroke, you should watch your body mass index and make sure you’re eating between 1,500 and 2,000 calories daily. What’s more, it would be beneficial to cut any bad habits and establish good ones, such as regular exercise.

Your health matters. Here at Premier Heart & Vascular Center, we aim to take care of it as best we can. If you have any concerns about your cardiovascular health, our highly-skilled team can help you maintain or improve it, as well as answer any questions you may have.

Visit our website to find out more about what we do and how we make it possible.