Friday Five: Signs of a stroke

Updated Aug 12, 2014

Stroke warning signs include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

Stroke is a disease that affects the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain. The effects of a severe stroke are often permanent, so it is best to be aware of the causes of a stroke, the warning signs of a stroke and ways to reduce the risks of a stroke.

According to the American Heart Association, a stroke occurs when a blood vessel that brings oxygen and nutrients to the brain either bursts, which causes a hemorrhagic stroke, or is clogged by a blood clot, which causes an ischemic stroke. When either of these takes occur, parts of the brain do not get the blood and oxygen they need. Without oxygen, nerve cells in the affected area of the brain cannot work properly, and die usually within three to four minutes. When nerve cells cannot work, the part of the body they control can’t work either.

If you or anyone you know has complained of these symptoms, the AHA advises to take immediate action by calling your emergency response number.

The best natural way to help prevent a stroke is to know the risk factors contributing to stroke and taking steps to reduce those factors. Factors that contribute to stroke risk include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Carotid or other artery disease
  • Atrial fibrillation (heart rhythm disorder)
  • Other heart disease (heart failure or coronary heart disease)
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Poor diet (diet high in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol)
  • Physical inactivity and obesity

If concerned about your risks of having a stroke, it is best to contact your doctor to find out your risk level and measures to take to reduce your risk level.

Information from the American Heart Association.