What is a Stroke?

Stroke is a condition in which the arteries leading to and inside the brain get blocked. When a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or breaks, a stroke occurs (or ruptures). When this happens, a section of the brain lacks the blood (and oxygen) it requires, and it, as well as brain cells, perish.

In the United States, it is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability. Strokes can be avoided in 80% of cases.

Signs & Symptoms

F.A.S.T. Warning Signs

This acronym helps identify a stroke.

  • F = Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
  • A = Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • S = Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred?
  • T = Time to call 911

Other Stroke Symptoms

  • NUMBNESS or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • CONFUSION, trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • TROUBLE SEEING in one or both eyes
  • TROUBLE WALKING, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • SEVERE HEADACHE with no known cause