Every 40 seconds someone in America has a stroke. About 795,000 people will have a new or recurrent stroke this year, and about 129,000 of them will die. In fact, stroke is our nation's number five cause of death and one of the leading causes of disability. Yet, many people don't know what a stroke is, let alone its symptoms and what to do when they see them.

A stroke is like a heart attack in your brain. When blood flow to your brain is blocked, the supply of oxygen and nutrients to brain cells is cut off and tissues in the affected area begin to die. Just as in a heart attack, it's critical to get medical attention to restore the blood flow immediately. If you "wait and see" and too much time passes, loss of memory, bodily function or even paralysis can result.

Knowing stroke signs and getting prompt help can make all the difference for you or a loved one. Specifically, treatment must begin within three hours for the best chance of recovery.

Stroke symptoms include:

  • Sudden numbness, weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
  • Blurred or decreased vision
  • Severe headache
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding simple statements
  • Dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

If you feel the symptoms above or see them in a loved one, treat it as a life-threatening emergency and call 911 for help. Understand that not all these symptoms occur with every stroke. For more information about recognizing stroke warning signs and tips on preventing strokes, talk to your healthcare provider today.

Learning more can save your life

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of a stroke, call 911 and ask to be taken to the nearest Certified Stroke Center.

To learn more about stroke symptoms or to find a doctor or speak to a nurse, call Consult-A-Nurse® at (951) 788-3463, 24 hours a day. Visit our Certified Primary Stroke Center page to learn more about our stroke care and services.

Sources: AmericanHeart.org, CDC.gov, StrokeAssociation.org