Video: What You Need to Know About Strokes

Knowing the signs could save your life

Brain scan

According to the National Stroke Association, 80 percent of strokes can be prevented, but knowledge of stroke, its risks, and its symptoms is not as widespread as it should be.

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Javier Provencio, MD, treats stroke patients at Cleveland Clinic. He says the signs of a stroke are not necessarily subtle, but can be blown off.

Dr. Provencio outlines the signs: “The inability to talk or understand what people say. The inability to use one side of your body, or the inability to feel one side of your body. So, any of those symptoms — it doesn’t have to be all of them — but any of those symptoms can be the sign of a stroke.”

 

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Dr. Provencio says it’s important to know the signs of a stroke, not just for yourself, but for others, too.  He says a good way to determine if someone is having a stroke is to apply the acronym FAST.

  • F” stands for face. A drooping face is a stroke symptom.
  • A” stands for arm. Stroke victims often experience weakness or a loss of sensation in the arm or leg.
  • S” stands for speech. Someone who is having a stroke often has trouble speaking.
  • T” stands for time. You should seek medical attention as quickly as possible.

Dr. Provencio says the faster you get to the doctor, the better the outcome.

“I don’t think that they always identify it as a stroke, and I don’t think that they always identify it as an emergency,” he says. “And that’s where it is a problem. If people get into the habit of saying, ‘When you have these symptoms, it’s an emergency, and you have to get people involved right away,’ that’s when you actually get good care for patients and get them to the hospital quickly.”

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Dr. Provencio says a good way to keep these risk factors under control is to know what your age-appropriate blood pressure and cholesterol numbers should be.

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