Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. It occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts or, more commonly, when a blockage develops. Without proper emergency treatment, cells in the brain begin to die quickly. The result can be serious disability or death.
Recognize the signs
Stroke is a medical emergency. Get emergency medical attention without delay if you or someone you know develops any of these stroke symptoms:
- sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
- sudden confusion, or 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
There are treatments available that can greatly reduce the damage caused by a stroke, but you must act fast. Call 911 immediately at any sign of a stroke.
The major risk factors for stroke are:
- high blood pressure
- poorly controlled diabetes
- high cholesterol
Additionally, African-Americans are more likely than people of other races to have strokes.
The good news? You can lessen your likelihood of suffering a stroke:
- Learn how you can control your blood sugar and blood pressure.
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fresh vegetables, fruit and whole grains, and no added salt.
- Get at least 30 minutes a day of regular physical activity.
- Manage stress.
If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.
An emergency medical condition is a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that a prudent layperson, who possesses an average knowledge of health and medicine, could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in any of the following:
- placing the person’s health (or, with respect to a pregnant woman, the health of the woman or her unborn child) in serious jeopardy
- serious impairment to bodily functions
- serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part
A mental health condition is an emergency medical condition when it meets the requirements of the paragraph above or, for members who are not enrolled in Kaiser Permanente Senior Advantage, when the condition manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either of the following is true:
- The person is an immediate danger to himself or herself or to others.
- The person is immediately unable to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder.