How to Spot a Stroke

A stroke happens when bloodflow to the brain is cut off due to a blocked artery or broken blood vessel. This loss of blood flow instantly kills brain cells, which can lead to brain damage and death. Women and African Americans are at increased risk for a stroke.

Brain stroke

Signs of a stroke are F.A.S.T.! Know what to look for and how to respond.

  • Face: drooping face, weak leg on one side, unexplained dizziness, blurred vision or loss of balance. Ask the person to smile.
  • Arm:one arm droops down. Ask the person to raise both arms.
  • Speech difficulty: trouble talking or understanding words
  • Time to call 911. The first three hours of a stroke are critical for treatment.

Who’s at risk?

Strokes can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, or race. However, certain individuals are at higher risk, including: women, African Americans, smokers, diabetics, and individuals with high blood pressure/high cholesterol. Eighty percent of strokes are preventable by working with health care professionals to reduce these factors and minimize risk.

For Caregivers and Family Members, here are some other ways to help prevent and treat stroke symptoms.

  • Assist with medications and exercises.
  • Arrange transportation to appointments.
  • Provide the stroke survivor with physical, mental and emotional support.
  • Assist the stroke survivor with daily activities such as personal care and hygiene.
  • Communicate with healthcare professionals and advocate (medically) for the stroke survivor.

References (and for more information): National Stroke Association. 2014.