Stroke Awareness: Know the Signs

You may be wondering, how common are strokes? Well, generally, everyone knows at least one person that has had a stroke before. Strokes were a leading cause of death last year, ranking fifth on the charts. It is important to educate yourself on knowing the signs for a stroke – you may save a loved one’s life or way of life if you act fast.

What is a stroke?

A stroke can occur when the arteries to your brain are damaged or obstructed. You brain requires a necessary blood supply to keep it functioning properly. If it does not receive this, brain cells begin to die off, causing lifelong damage. Since your brain controls your body, in this case, how you speak, see, and move around, your senses can be damaged. There are different types of strokes, such as Ischemic stroke (most common), Hemorrhagic stroke (usually caused by high blood pressure), Transient Ischemic Attack (called a mini-stroke), Cryptogenic stroke usually cased by blood clot), and Brain Stem stroke (very detrimental to the body, usually leaving someone in a locked-in state, sometimes unable to speak or function below the neck).

Who is at risk for a stroke?

A stroke is not just based off your family history – it can happen to anyone. It is important to be aware that a stroke can occur at any age. One in every five people who are under 55 experience a stroke, and these chances increase as you get older. There are risk factors involved with strokes. According to statistics, women experience strokes more than men. The scarier fact is that more women die from strokes each year than compared to breast cancer.

Some factors that increase your risk of a stroke can be managed, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, poor circulation, obesity, and atrial fibrillation.  

What are the signs that someone is having a stroke?

A common acronym for remembering the signs of a stroke is:

BE FAST

Balance

Loss of balance or dizziness will be one of your first signs to look out for. The person will have trouble walking or focusing on getting from point A to point B.

Eyes

Blurred vision, double vision, or temporary loss of vision in just one eye can happen suddenly and be a sign that your loved one needs immediate attention.

Face

Facial weakness or paralysis is a more common sign of a stroke, but hard to spot if you are not paying close attention. One side of the mouth often droops and can be a sure sign.

Arms

Weakness or numbness in your arms is a common sign. If you are able to, try raising both your arms over your head at the same time. If one arm tends to fall, you may be experiencing a stroke. Remember, this typically happens to one side of your body.

Speech

Another sign that is a little easier to spot is slurred speech. If you are in the room with someone that is experiencing a stroke, they can experience confusion, and it can make it hard to understand what they are saying.

Time

The last thing to remember, is to call 9-1-1 immediately if you see any of these signs. You have nothing to lose by calling for help.

In closing, if you know that someone in your family has had a stroke, this makes you more likely to have one, as well. There are insurance plans that cover you for these needs specifically. If this is something you are interested in obtaining, you can call our office and learn more from an advisor: (877) 759-5762, opt. 2. We are your #1 Resource for Medicare and Retirement and want to make sure you are your loved ones are well-taken care of.