Stroke; What to Know and Do

Stroke; What to Know and Do

Stroke; What to Know and Do.

A stroke occurs when there’s an interruption of blood supply to the brain, either due to a blockage (ischemic stroke) or bleeding (hemorrhagic stroke). It’s a medical emergency and requires immediate attention.

How often do strokes occur?

Strokes occur frequently. Strokes are the second leading cause of death globally. Stroke ranks as the fifth leading cause of mortality in the US. Another major global source of impairment is strokes.

How does a stroke affect my body?

What a heart attack is to your heart, a stroke is to your brain. A stroke results in the loss of blood flow to a portion of the brain, depriving it of oxygen. The impacted brain cells become oxygen-starved and malfunction when there is insufficient oxygen.

If your brain cells go too long without oxygen, they’ll die. If enough brain cells in an area die, the damage becomes permanent, and you may lose the abilities that area once controlled. However, restoring blood flow may prevent that kind of damage or at least limit how severe it is. That’s why time is critical in treating a stroke. Here’s what you should know and do:

Recognize the Symptoms

Common symptoms include sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; and sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Act FAST: The acronym FAST can help you remember the signs of a stroke and what to do:

  • F: Face drooping. Ask the person to smile. Is one side of the face drooping?
  • A: Arm weakness. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • S: Speech difficulty. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
  • T: Time to call emergency services. If you observe any of these signs, call emergency services immediately.

Call Emergency Services

Time is critical in treating a stroke. Call emergency services (e.g., 911 in the United States) as soon as you suspect a stroke.

Stay Calm and Reassure the Person

If you suspect someone is having a stroke, try to keep them calm and reassure them that help is on the way.

Note the Time

Note the time when the symptoms first appeared. This information can be crucial for medical professionals to determine the appropriate treatment.

Do Not Give Anything to Eat or Drink

In the case of a suspected stroke, it’s essential not to give the person anything to eat or drink until medical help arrives.

Be Prepared to Provide Information

Be prepared to provide information about the person’s medical history, including any medications they are taking, allergies, and recent illnesses or injuries.

Support Recovery

After a stroke, recovery and rehabilitation are crucial. Support the person in following their healthcare provider’s recommendations for rehabilitation, medication, and lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of future strokes.

Remember, acting quickly can make a significant difference in the outcome of a stroke.


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