KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death for women and a leading cause of death in men according to the CDC. Here are signs to help spot a stroke.
The CDC explains that a stroke can happen in two different ways, either through a blocked artery called an Ischemic Stroke, or a ruptured artery called a Hemorrhagic Stroke. In either case, when a stroke happens, parts of the brain become damaged or die, the CDC says.
One of the best-known acronyms for spotting strokes is F.A.S.T., which stands for face, arms, speech, and time. The CDC and American Heart Association say to look for:
- Does one side of the face droop when smiling or is it numb?
- Does one arm drift downward when both arms are raised?
- Is speech slurred or strange when repeating a simple phrase?
- If any of these signs are present, it’s time to call 911.
The American Heart Association adds that other stroke symptoms to watch for are numbness or weakness, confusion, trouble seeing, trouble walking, dizziness, and severe headache. The organization adds that while strokes often feel similar for men and women, women can also experience general weakness, disorientation and confusion, memory problems, fatigue, nausea, or vomiting.
The CDC adds that if there are signs of a stroke, it is important to get treatment as soon as possible. A delay in treatment increases the risk of permanent brain damage or death, and some treatments only work if given within the first three hours after symptoms start, the CDC says.
Transient Ischemic Attacks, (sometimes called a “mini-stroke,”) are also a medical emergency, the CDC says. Officials explain TIA is different from the major types of stroke since blood flow is only blocked for a short period of time, usually no longer than five minutes. The CDC explains that a TIA is a warning sign of a future stroke, and as many as 10% to 15% of people will have a major stroke within 3 months of a TIA. With proper treatment, The CDC says a medical team can find the cause of a TIA and take steps to prevent a major stroke in the future.
According to the CDC, about four in five strokes are preventable, with the main risk factor for stroke being hypertension. Other risk factors include high cholesterol, heart disease, smoking, obesity, diabetes, and sickle cell disease.