If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of a stroke, call 911 immediately. Brain damage can begin within minutes, and quick treatment can help increase the chances of a full and meaningful recovery.
An easy way to remember the signs and symptoms of stroke is to B.E.F.A.S.T.
B = Balance: Does the person complain of sudden onset unsteadiness, dizziness or difficulty walking?
E = Eyes: Does the person complain of narrowing vision, blurred vision, seeing dark or bright spots?
F = Face: Ask the person to smile & show their teeth. Is the smile even or lop-sided?
A = Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms and hold them straight out. Does one arm drift downward?
S = Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Do words sound slurred or garbled?
T = Time: Knowing the time when the person was last seen “normal” helps determine the course of treatment and improve outcomes.
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked (ischemic) or bleeds (hemorrhagic). Blood carrying oxygen can't get to the brain and brain cells start to die. Damaged areas of the brain can lead to loss of bodily functions, such as speech, arm movement and sight, can be impaired.
Ischemic stroke – An ischemic stroke happens when there’s a clot or obstruction blocking the supply of blood going to your brain. Eighty-seven percent of all strokes are ischemic.
Hemorrhagic stroke – A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel ruptures.
Transient ischemic attack (TIA) – A transient ischemic attack or TIA is caused by a temporary clot. It’s often referred to as a “mini stroke” and serves as a warning stroke. TIAs should be taken very seriously.
Typically, a CT scan is the first test performed, during or after after a stroke. A CT scan will show whether the stroke was caused by a blocked artery or by a leaking or ruptured artery.
For a stroke caused by a clot or blockage, doctors might use:
Treatment for a stroke caused by a leaking or ruptured artery includes: