Know the Signs of Stroke and How to Protect Your Heart

signs of a strokeMs. Hernandez was nervous and stressed because she had an important presentation at work. In the middle of her presentation she stopped talking, stared at her coworkers, lost her balance, and the right side of her face drooped. One of her coworkers recognized the symptoms of stroke and called 911. An ambulance came and took Ms. Hernandez to the emergency room.

One of her coworkers called her husband, who met her in the emergency room. In the emergency room, the doctors confirmed that Ms. Hernandez had had a stroke, which occurs more often in women. Ms. Hernandez and her husband want to learn more about stroke and what they can do to prevent future strokes.

A stroke occurs when blood does not flow to part of the brain. When brain cells do not receive sufficient amounts of oxygen and nutrients, they die. The symptoms experienced reflect the parts of the brain affected by the stroke.

There are two main types of stroke: ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke. Ischemic stroke is caused by plaque deposits in the arteries of the brain, which narrow and eventually block blood flow, just like in other arteries in your body. Hemorrhagic stroke results from a burst blood vessel that bleeds into the brain, damaging brain cells.

If you or anyone you know has symptoms of a stroke call 911 because immediate treatment can save your life and limit permanent brain damage. Call an ambulance so treatment can begin on the way to the hospital.

To decrease your risk of a stroke, make sure other conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease are under control. You can learn more about your stroke risk by taking the stroke risk quiz.

Decrease your risk of stroke by adopting a lifestyle that includes:

  • Regular exercise
  • Sleep for 7 to 9 hours each night
  • Blood pressure controlled within healthy limits
  • Body weight maintained
  • No smoking
  • Limit alcohol use

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