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Stroke Awareness Month

Stroke: What is it? How will I know?


There are two types of stroke or cerebral vascular accident. These include thrombotic and hemorrhagic strokes. A thrombotic stroke occurs when a blood clot travels to the brain vessels and becomes lodged in a small vessel, cutting off blood supply to vital areas of the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a weak area of a blood vessel in the brain tears and blood leaks out of the vessel, again, limiting blood supply to certain areas of the brain. The part of the body that is affected by a stroke depends on where the clot or bleed occurs, and how long the blood supply to the brain is interrupted. That is why there is often variability in stroke symptoms from person to person. Additionally, it is why it is of utmost importance that one is able to recognize stroke symptoms early and seek emergency care as soon as possible.


Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.

Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech.

Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.

Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination.

Sudden severe headache with no known cause.


If you or a loved one develops any of the symptoms above, it is of utmost importance to act F.A.S.T. and call 911. The longer a person goes without treatment, the more likely he or she is to have permanent problems from the stroke. F.A.S.T. is an acronym to help people identify stroke symptoms:

F—Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A—Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S—Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?

T—Time: If you see any of these signs, call 9-1-1 right away.

By: Gwyn Morson, FNP


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