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Do You Know the Signs of a Stroke?

Strokes are called the silent killer because they can sneak up on you, building symptom by symptom, instead of coming on all at once. People who are unaware that they may be suffering a stroke may not seek emergency treatment in time to prevent death or lifelong disability. The Centers for Disease Control report that strokes kill more than 140,000 people per year, and a total of 795,000 people suffer a stroke in the United States each year.

But it's not all dire news. Becoming familiar with the signs and risks of stroke can improve the odds of getting timely treatment and having a better outcome if you do experience a stroke.

Check out some common risks and signs of stroke below, as well as some proactive steps you can take to decrease those risks.

Know Your Risk Factor

Begin your lookout for signs of a stroke by knowing your risk factor, by demographics. According to the same CDC report, African Americans are twice as likely as Caucasians to suffer from and die of a stroke. More than 66 percent of strokes occur in people more than 65 years of age. And if you have other chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, you're far more likely to have a stroke.

The good news? A healthy lifestyle, which includes diet and exercise, can reduce your risks. Take advantage of regular health assessments, nutritional guidance and fitness activities in our Phoenix assisted living.

The Most Known Sign: Sudden Numbness

According to the CDC, the vast majority of people know that sudden numbness can be a clue that you may be having a stroke. While this is true, it is far from the only symptom of an impending stroke and can actually be caused by a number of other issues, including injuries to your joints or compressed nerves.

If you experience sudden numbness, especially if you also have other symptoms, it's important to be evaluated by a medical professional quickly to rule out stroke. Luckily, you can call on the available staff at Bethesda Gardens for assistance if you're worried about feelings of numbness.

F-A-S-T Signs of Stroke

The American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, developed F-A-S-T to quickly determine if you may need medical attention for a potential stroke.

  • F: Face drooping. Has one side of your face suddenly drooped lower than the other? Can you no long smile “evenly”?
  • A: Arm weakness. This is similar to the numbness described above; has one of your arms gone suddenly weak or numb? Typically this, like facial drooping, affects only one side of your body.
  • S: Speech difficulty. Are you slurring your words or unable to get speech out at all?
  • T: Time to call 9-1-1. With the presentation of any of these symptoms, alone or together, even if they are transient, it’s time to seek medical attention.

Other Signs to Track and Report

Strokes can generate many other symptoms besides the most common ones already discussed. The American Stroke Association wants you to keep these additional symptoms in mind and seek prompt medical attention if they occur.

  • Sudden head or face pain
  • Sudden vision issues
  • Sudden confusion or mental changes
  • Sudden coordination problems

One of the benefits of independent living in an assisted living community is the availability of trained staff ready to help if you ever need it. Never feel that you shouldn't bother the Bethesda Gardens staff; they are happy to help.

In the case of strokes, particularly if you meet some or many risk factors, it is far better to seek medical care and discover a different issue or a false alarm than to avoid reaching out and risk death or disability as a result.