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When a person has a stroke, it means that their brain is not getting the blood that it needs. They need treatment right away to lower their chances of brain damage, disability or death. You can use the term FAST test to check for the most common symptoms of a stroke in yourself or even someone else. 

  • Face - smile and check if one side of your face droops. 
  • Arms- raise both of your arms and check if one arm drops down
  • Speech - say a short phrase and check for strange or slurred speech
  • Time - if the answer to any of these assessments is yes, you need to call 911 immediately and write down the time when the symptoms started. 

When you treat a stroke, minutes matter. Calling a doctor or driving to the hospital yourself can waste time. Ambulance workers can check your situation sooner and that boosts your chance of getting the treatment you need as soon as possible. 

Depending on the type of stroke that you have, doctors may give you clot-busting drugs or aspirin. The treatment works well when you take the medication at least 3 hours of when your symptoms started. If the stroke was caused by a sudden burst of your blood vessel, the doctors will try to stop the bleeding immediately. 

Warning signs

Sometimes a stroke can happen gradually, but you are likely to have one or more sudden symptoms like confusion or trouble understanding other people, numbness or weakness in your face, leg or arm, difficulty speaking, trouble seeing with both eyes or one eye, dizziness, problems walking or staying balanced or coordinated and severe headache. If you have any of these symptoms, call 911 even if you are not sure that you are having a stroke. 

Be prepared

Every year, 800,000 people in America have a stroke. They can happen to anyone at any time. Planning for an emergency can make a massive difference. Learn the warning signs of a stroke and let your friends and family know.

If you have any medical conditions, wear a medical bracelet or other identification that states them. Also indicate if you have allergies and all the medication that you take. You can teach your children the FAST test, plus how to call 911, give your address and to describe what is happening. 

Reasons for having a stroke

A stroke happens when blood flow to an area of your brain is cut off. Without the oxygen provided in blood, the brain cells start dying within minutes. To help prevent a stroke, you should learn about the causes and the things that can help raise your odds of getting one. 

Most people who suffer from a stroke have high blood pressure. Some doctors call it hypertension. It is one of the biggest causes of strokes. If your blood pressure is high, your doctor will discuss treatments with you. 

Smoking is also another factor. Nicotine makes your blood pressure go up. Smoking can cause a fatty buildup in your main neck artery and it also thickens your blood and makes it more likely to clot. People with diabetes and those with heart conditions are also prone to stroke. 

Those with defective heart valves or irregular heartbeat can cause stroke, and those with diabetes usually have damaged blood vessels, which makes having a stroke more likely to happen.  

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