What Are The Signs Of Stroke?

Warning signs of stroke.

Not long ago the doctors for former President Gerald Ford sent him home with antibiotics. They mistakenly believed he had a sinus infection. He didn't. Instead, he had a stroke and became one of 600,000 Americans every year to have a stroke. Many of that total will die, despite the fact a person is much less likely to die of the disease than a few years ago, and much can be done to prevent it.

Doctors have said the former president is recovering nicely and will be fine.

"Every 53 seconds someone has a stroke," the website for the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association reported. "About 600,000 Americans will have a stroke this year, and 160,000 of them will die. In fact, stroke is our nation's numer three killer."

According to the website a stroke starts blood flowing through vessels is obstructed and the brain loses its energy supply and is injured.

If the obstruction lasts more than a few minutes and the injury becomes permanent, a stroke occurs.

Many people ignore the warning signs for a stroke and much can be done to keep a stroke from happening. According to the website, 911 should be called at the first signs of a stroke: sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side; sudden confusion; trouble speaking or understanding; dizziness; loss of balance or coordination; sudden trouble seeing with one or both eyes and sudden severe headaches for no reason.

The American Heart Association spends more than any agency except the federal government on education about and prevention of strokes.

In 80% of strokes an Ishemic stroke occurs, which is caused by a blood clot. In 20% of cases a Hemorrhagic stroke occurs, which is caused when a weakened blood vessel ruptures and bleeds into the brain.

A stroke can cause impaired or damaged vision, paralysis on one side of the body, memory loss, language problems and a quick, inquisitive behaviour.

The chance of stroke increases with age, although younger people can get it. After age 55, a person's chance of getting a stroke doubles every ten years. Slightly more women die from a stroke than men, although more men get it.

Factors that increase a person's chance of getting a stroke include: a prior stroke; high blood pressure; cigarette smoking; diabetes; heart disease ( person with heart disease is twice as likely to get a stroke); a high red blood cell count and Transient ischemic attacks ( mini strokes). A person who has had the mini strokes is 10 times more likely to get a stroke.

At the American Stroke Association's website, a person can answer a few questions which will show him or her how great a chance he or she has of getting a stroke. Even a person with low chances can have a stroke, however.

The Mayo Clinic's website also devotes information to strokes. According to the information, a person can lessen chances of having a stroke by: controlling blood pressure; losing weight if overweight; eating low fat, low salt foods; attending stress management classes if under high stress; controlling diabetes; controlling cholestorol by avoiding a diet high in cholestorol and fats, especially saturated fats, such as a high amount of egg yolks; meat and dairy products; quitting smoking and moderate weekly exercise.

According to CBS 2 news, one study also showed that female nurses who took six or fewer asprins a week reduced their chance of getting a stroke. Too many asprins--such as 15 a week-- may increase the chance, however. Previous studies have shown that asprins can help prevent a second stroke, but its use among healthy people has been less documented.

"It may take only very low doses of asprin--as low as one tablet per day or every other day seems to have benefits," Dr. Joann Manson, author of the study told CBS 2 news.

She said a person should not take asprin to prevent a stroke without talking to his or her doctor. She said some doctors are prescribing asprin for that reason, however.

Although many people do die of strokes every year, experts say many of those deaths can be prevented.

© High Speed Ventures 2011