Stroke Frequently Asked Questions

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What is a stroke?
A stroke or "brain attack" occurs when a blood vessel of the brain becomes blocked or bursts, depriving brain cells of oxygen and nutrients. Stroke is the No. 1 cause of disability and the No. 4 cause of death in the United States, affecting people without regard for age or sex.

What are the symptoms of a stroke?
Symptoms of stroke include:

  • Sudden, severe headache with an unknown cause
  • Sudden numbness, weakness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg, on one side of the body
  • Sudden dimness or visual loss, particularly in one eye
  • Dizziness, loss of balance or staggering walk
  • Slurred speech or inability to talk
  • Abrupt loss of consciousness

What are the signs of a stroke?
Do you know the signs of stroke? Think FAST.

  • Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • Arms: Ask the person to hold both arms up evenly. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech: Ask the person to repeat a single sentence. Are his/her words slurred or mixed up?
  • Time: If the person shows any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately!

What is a transient ischemic attack?
A transient ischemic attack (TIA) often precedes a stroke. TIAs are temporary strokes with symptoms that last a few minutes or several hours. If you develop one or more TIA symptoms, consult a physician immediately.

What is a tissue plasminogen activator or tPA?
Tissue plasminogen activator
(tPA), a drug that dissolves blood clots, is used to treat eligible stroke patients at Via Christi Hospitals. The medication, used for years to dissolve blood clots during heart attack, is also FDA-approved to treat a stroke up to three to 4 1/2 hours of symptoms.  

What are the treatments for stroke patients?
Treatment after a stroke
varies, depending on the type of stroke and other factors, but may include:

  • Medication
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Speech Therapy
  • Surgery

What can I do to prevent a stroke?

Control your risk factors and start at any age.

Risk factors for stroke:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Blood Cholesterol
  • High Cholesterol
  • Tobacco Use
  • Alcohol use
  • Irregular heart beat (Atrial Fibrillation)
  • Obesity
  • Family history of stroke
  • Inactive lifestyle


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