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A neurological problem that can affect all ages

Roughly every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. People of all ages are vulnerable, despite seemingly good health. In fact, the risk of stroke is increasing faster in individuals ages 30-45 than in any other age group.

Because people that have a stroke are at a higher risk of having another one, it’s important to know the signs and be able to recognize a stroke. Emergency treatment may be able to reverse a stroke. 

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,  especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden dimness or visual loss, particularly in one eye
  • Dizziness, loss of balance or staggering walk
  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding 
  • Slurred speech or inability to talk
  • Abrupt loss of consciousness

Call 911 if you experience any of these symptoms.  Some people may have only one symptoms; others may have several.  Don’t ignore the warning signs, even if they go away.  Note the time the symptoms began. This will be critical in determining treatment. 

Remember the acronym 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 911 immediately!

Modifiable stroke risk factors at any age:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol use
  • Irregular heart beat (atrial fibrillation)
  • Obesity
  • Family history of stroke
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Uncontrollable risk factors

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Family history of stroke or heart disease
  • Previous stroke or TIA
  • Hole in the heart (PFO)