At Risk for a Stroke? These Are the Top 10 Signs

Patients’ Awareness of Stroke Signs, Symptoms, and Risk Factors

At Risk for a Stroke? These Are the Top 10 Signs

Recombinant tissue plasminogen activator has been shown to improve neurological outcome if given within 3 hours of symptom onset in patients with acute ischemic stroke.1 Delay to presentation continues to be the primary cause of patient exclusion from interventional thrombolytic stroke trials.

2 Investigators stress the need for early symptom recognition and intervention if thrombolytic therapy is to be effective.1 As in myocardial infarction, delays from symptom onset to decision to seek medical attention are the most significant causes of delay in patients with stroke.

34 Recent educational campaigns have focused on educating the general public regarding the signs, symptoms, and risk factors of cerebrovascular disease in the hopes of improving early recognition, reducing time to treatment, and reducing the risk of stroke. Designing effective future programs relies on an accurate assessment of a population’s prior knowledge base.

The goal of this prospective study was to determine baseline knowledge regarding the signs, symptoms, and risk factors of stroke in patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with this disease.

Subjects and Methods

This was a prospective study of patients admitted to the hospital with an ED diagnosis of stroke. Patients were recruited from a university hospital and three community hospitals. This protocol was approved by Institutional Review Boards at all four hospitals.

We identified patients by reviewing the ED admission logs and contacting the neurologists’ offices on a daily basis. Inclusion criteria consisted of an ED admission for stroke, transient ischemic attack, intracerebral hemorrhage, or subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Patients who were unable to participate due to speech difficulties or an impaired mental status were excluded from analysis. The study was explained to the patient and/or the legal guardian by a study investigator, and informed consent was obtained.

To minimize in-hospital stroke education, an attempt was made to interview all patients as soon after their admission as possible (preferably within 12 hours, but no later than 48 hours after admission). A standardized, structured interview with open-ended questions was conducted by one of two stroke research nurses on a sample of patients.

Information regarding patients’ knowledge of the signs, symptoms, and risk factors for stroke and heart disease were obtained from the patient. Demographic characteristics, time from symptom onset to ED arrival, past medical history, and baseline neurological examination results were obtained from their medical record.

Descriptive and comparative statistical analyses were performed with the use of the statistical program SAS. Means, standard deviations, medians, and ranges were presented for continuous variables. Fisher’s exact and χ2 tests were performed to compare differences in knowledge base between groups. The Wilcoxon test was used to compare differences in ED arrival times among groups.


Of the 174 eligible patients, 163 were able to respond to the interview questions, and these constitute the study population (Table 1).

The study population included 38 patients who, although noted to have an altered mental status or to be aphasic on their ED record, were able to complete the interview.

The demographic profile of the study population is similar to that of the city of Cincinnati in terms of race and sex, but a smaller proportion of the study population completed high school compared with the city population (42% versus 70%, P


Stroke: FAST, Symptoms, Causes, Types, Treatment, Prevention

At Risk for a Stroke? These Are the Top 10 Signs

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Strokes are usually classified by what mechanism caused the loss of the blood supply, either ischemic or hemorrhagic. A stroke may also be described by what part of the brain was affected (for example, a right temporal stroke) and what part of the body stopped working (stroke affecting the left arm).

Ischemic stroke

An ischemic stroke is caused by an artery in the brain being obstructed or blocked, preventing oxygen-rich blood from being delivered to brain cells. The artery can be blocked in a couple of ways.

In a thrombotic stroke, an artery can narrow over time because of cholesterol buildup, called plaque.

If that plaque ruptures, a clot is formed at the site and prevents blood from passing to brain cells downstream, which are then deprived of oxygen.

In an embolic stroke, the artery is blocked because of debris or a clot that travels from the heart or another blood vessel. An embolus or embolism is a clot, a piece of fatty material or other object that travels within the bloodstream that lodges in a blood vessel to cause an obstruction.

Blood clots that embolize usually arise from the heart. The most common cause of these blood clots is a heart arrhythmia called atrial fibrillation, where the upper chambers of the heart, the atria, do not beat in an organized rhythm.

Instead, the chaotic electrical rhythm causes the atria to jiggle a bowl of Jell-O. While blood still flows to the ventricles (the heart's lower chambers) to be pumped to the body, some blood along the inner walls of the atrium can form small blood clots.

If a clot breaks off, it can travel or embolize to the brain, where it can block blood flow to a part of the brain and cause a stroke.

The carotid arteries are two large blood vessels that provide the brain with blood supply. These arteries can narrow, or develop stenosis, with cholesterol plaque that may build up over time. The surface of the plaque is irregular and bits of debris can break off and embolize to the brain to block blood vessels downstream and deprive brain cells of oxygen-rich blood.

Hemorrhagic stroke

When a blood vessel leaks and spills blood into brain tissue, those brain cells stop working. The bleeding or hemorrhage is often due to poorly controlled high blood pressure that weakens the wall of an artery over time.

Blood may also leak from an aneurysm, a congenital weakness or ballooning of an artery wall, or from an AVM (arteriovenous malformation), a congenital abnormality where an artery and vein connect incorrectly.

The bleeding can form a hematoma that directly damages brain cells and may also cause swelling that puts further pressure on surrounding brain tissue.

Describing a stroke by anatomy and symptoms

There are four major arteries that supply the brain with blood.

  • The right and left carotid artery are located in the front of the neck and their pulse can be felt with the fingers.
  • The right and left vertebral arteries are encased in bone as they run through the vertebrae in the neck. As the two enter the brain, they join to form the basilar artery.
  • The carotid arteries and the vertebrobasilar arteries join to form the Circle of Willis at the base of the brain and from this circle, arteries branch off to supply the brain with blood.

The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and vice versa. Speech tends to be located in the dominant hemisphere, most often the left brain.

The anterior and middle cerebral arteries provide blood supply to the front two-thirds of the brain, including the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes. These parts of the brain control voluntary body movement, sensation, speech and thought, personality, and behavior.

The vertebral and basilar arteries are considered the posterior circulation and supply the occipital lobe where vision is located, the cerebellum that controls coordination and balance, and the brainstem that is responsible for the unconscious brain functions that include blood pressure, breathing, and wakefulness.

Picture of brain anatomy.

Strokes may be described based upon the function of the body that is lost and by the area of the brain that is affected. Most commonly in strokes that involve the brain, the symptoms involve either the right or left side of the body. In strokes that affect the brainstem or the spinal cord, symptoms may present on both sides of the body.

Strokes may affect motor function or the ability for the body to move. Part of the body may be affected, the face, a hand, or an arm. An entire side of the body may be affected (for example, the left part of the face, left arm, and left leg). Weakness on one side of the body is called hemiparesis (hemi = half + paresis = weak) and paralysis is hemiplegia (hemi = half + plegia = paralysis).

Similarly, sensory function — the ability to feel — can affect the face, hand, arm, trunk, or a combination of these.

Other symptoms speech, vision, balance, and coordination help locate the part of the brain that has stopped working and helps the health care professional make the clinical diagnosis of stroke.

This is an important concept since not all loss of neurologic function is due to stroke and if the anatomy and physiology do not match the loss of body function, other diagnoses may be considered that can affect both brain and body.

A lacunar stroke describes the blockage of a single tiny penetrating artery branch in the brain. The area of the involved brain is small but can still cause significant neurologic deficits, just a stroke involving a larger blood vessel and more brain tissue.

In some cases, however, the stroke is silent, meaning that no obvious body function is lost and an old lacunar stroke can be seen as an incidental finding on a CT or MRI scan of the head that might be done for other reasons.

The term lacune means empty space and a tiny empty space of an old lacunar stroke can be seen on imaging where brain tissue has been lost.


10 Surprising Stroke Warning Signs You Need To Know

At Risk for a Stroke? These Are the Top 10 Signs

On February 13, 2011, CBS-TV reporter Serene Branson shocked Grammy Award viewers when she appeared to experience a stroke (the interruption of blood flow to the brain) on air. After Branson began to speak gibberish, paramedics on the scene checked her out and released her. She had a colleague drive her home.

Fortunately, it reportedly turned out to be a complex migraine – because if it had been a stroke, “she did exactly the wrong thing by waiting and then going home. She should have gone straight to a hospital. Time saved is brain saved,” says Larry B.

Goldstein, MD, spokesperson for the American Stroke Association, and director, Duke Stroke Center, Durham, NC. He adds that even though the paramedics “cleared her,” she still should have gone to the hospital immediately.

(To be fair, the paramedics may have recommended that but they can’t force someone.)

Stroke is the No. 4 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States, according to the American Stroke Association (ASA).

There are two kinds of strokes: ischemic, which accounts for 87% and happens when a blood clot stops up a brain blood vessel or artery to the brain; and hemorrhagic, which is caused when a brain blood vessel breaks and results in bleeding inside or over the brain.

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, or trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Less frequent symptoms (but occur often in women):

  • Sudden onset of nausea, and vomiting
  • Brief loss of consciousness or fainting, confusion or convulsions
  • Sudden hiccups
  • Sudden face and limb pain
  • Sudden shortness of breath and chest pain

3 Easy Tests to Assess Symptoms:

  1. Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  2. Ask the person to raise his arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  3. Ask the person to say a simple sentence. Watch for garbled words and slurred speech.

If you think you or someone with you is having a stroke, here’s what to do:

  • Call 9-1-1 right away. Do not “wait and see” if the symptoms subside. The sooner the patient gets medical attention, the better the outcome. “If you have a choice, wait for the paramedics rather than driving the patient yourself. Patients who are transported by EMS are evaluated much quicker than people who are driven in,” says Dr. Goldstein. (And, of course, do not drive if you are the one with the possible stroke!)
  • Call even if symptoms disappear. In a transient ischemic attack (TIA), symptoms usually only last a few minutes but it is a warning that a major stroke may be coming. “The best way to treat a stroke is to never have it to begin with. This is an opportunity to try to prevent one,” says Dr. Goldstein.
  • Note the time when symptoms appeared and let the paramedics know. There are time frames after which certain drugs can’t be used.
  • Do not give the patient aspirin. “A stroke is a brain event, not a heart attack,” explains Dr. Goldstein. “You can’t tell what kind of stroke the person is having. If it’s hemorrhagic, aspirin will make the brain bleed worse.”


Foods That Lower Stroke Risk


Knowing stroke warning signs could save your life

At Risk for a Stroke? These Are the Top 10 Signs

Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. It only takes 12 minutes for a pea-size portion of the brain to die during a stroke. The longer a stroke goes untreated, the greater the risk for permanent disability and death.

However, did you know that more than 80 percent of strokes are preventable?

Strokes can be one of the most devastating emergency conditions that can strike. But they don’t have to be. Recognizing the symptoms of a stroke, and getting care quickly gives you the best possibility of restoring full health. 

Adena Regional Medical Center is certified as a Primary Stroke Center and has an established protocol that provides best results for patients to greatly reduce chances of disability. In 2017, more than 180 stroke patients were treated by Adena Health System’s Neurologists.

When a stroke patient arrives in the emergency room, Adena’s goal is to ensure a provider sees the patient within 10 minutes. Tests and scan will be done and results will be read within 45 minutes. 

What is a stroke?

A stroke is essentially a brain attack that occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off and causes lack of oxygen to brain tissue. 

When brain cells do not get oxygen, they die, It’s important to get treatment as soon as possible. A delay in treatment increases the risk of permanent brain damage or even death.

Risk Factors? 

Anyone can have a stroke, at any age, at any time. However, there are certain things that can increase your chances of having a stroke. The best way to protect yourself or a loved one from a stroke is to understand the risks. 

Medical Risk Factors:

  • High Blood Pressure:  High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke. It occurs when the pressure of the blood in your arteries and other blood vessels is too high. There are often no symptoms of high blood pressure. Have your blood pressure checked often, and if you have high blood pressure, lowering your blood pressure through lifestyle changes or medicine can lower your risk for stroke.
  • High Cholesterol: If we take in more cholesterol than our bodies can use, extra cholesterol can build up in the arteries, including those in the brain. This can lead to narrowing of the arteries, causing a stroke or other problems. A blood test can tell your doctor if you have high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides (a related kind of fat) in your blood.
  • Heart Disease: Coronary artery disease can increase your risk of stroke. This is a result of plaque build-up in the arteries, which can block the flow of oxygen to the brain. Other heart conditions, such as heart valve defects, and enlarged heart chambers, can cause blood clots that may break loose and cause a stroke.

 Life Style Risk Factors: 

  • Tobacco Use: Smoking, along with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity, and diabetes, tops the list as a primary risk factor for heart disease. In fact, smoking is the single most preventable stroke risk.
  • Physical Activity:  Not getting up and moving can increase your risk of becoming overweight, developing high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Going on a brisk walk, taking the stairs and getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day can decrease your riskfor cardiovascular disease or stroke. 
  • Diet:A heart-healthy diet can reduce your chance of stroke.A heart-healthy and well-balanced diet includes eating more servings of fruits, vegetables, leafy greens and lean meats; while eating less servings of processed foods including fried foods, lunch meats, chips and cookies. 

How can I prevent a stroke? 

Most strokes can be prevented by keeping medical conditions under control and making positive lifestyle changes. Once these factors have been identified, it is best to work with your health care provider to establish how you can reduce your risk. A good place to start is to know your ABCS of heart health: 

  • Aspirin: Aspirin may help lower your risk for stroke.
  • Blood Pressure: Control your blood pressure.
  • Cholesterol: Control your cholesterol.
  • Smoking: Quit smoking or don’t start.

Recognize and Respond 

Recognize: What are Symptoms of a Stroke? 

  • Numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, particularly on one side
  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding 
  • Dizziness, trouble walking, loss of coordination
  • Sever headache with unknown cause 

Respond: What to do if you expect stroke?

Knowing your risk factors is only half the battle. Strokes can happen suddenly, anytime and anywhere. If you think you or someone else may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. 

            Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face droop?

           Ask the person to raise both arms, Does one arm drift downward?

           Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred? 

            If you see any of these signs call 9-1-1 right away.

Strokes can come on suddenly and progress rapidly, causing permanent disability if not treated quickly. If a loved one is experiencing the symptoms of a stroke, it might be tempting to drive him or her to the emergency department. However, calling 9-1-1 is your loved one’s best chance for survival. 

Stroke Treatment at Adena Health System 

Adena understands that our patients, every stroke is different. Adena offers many therapy and recovery options for those who have survived a stroke. 

Adena’s Stroke Team includes: neurologists, emergency physicians, nurses, social workers, rehabilitation experts, hospitalists and radiology and lab technicians. Whether you or a loved one is in need of physical, occupational or speech therapy, Adena’s dedicated team of providers is here for you. 

Thanks to telemedicine, Adena’s neurologists can also videoconference with physicians at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center when a second opinion is needed. 

To learn more about Adena’s Neurology and Stroke Services, visit or call 740-779-4589.


Stroke Signs and Symptoms

At Risk for a Stroke? These Are the Top 10 Signs

Sudden severe headache with no known cause is a stroke sign in men and women.

During a stroke, every minute counts! Fast treatment can lessen the brain damage that stroke can cause.

By knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke, you can take quick action and perhaps save a life—maybe even your own.

Signs of Stroke in Men and Women

  • 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

Call 9-1-1 right away if you or someone else has any of these symptoms.

Acting F.A.S.T. Is Key for Stroke

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Published October 26, 2015

When someone is having a stroke, every minute counts. Just as putting out a fire quickly can stop it from spreading, treating a stroke quickly can reduce damage to the brain. If you learn how to recognize the telltale signs of a stroke, you can act quickly and save a life—maybe even your own.

Acting F.A.S.T. can help stroke patients get the treatments they desperately need. The stroke treatments that work best are available only if the stroke is recognized and diagnosed within 3 hours of the first symptoms. Stroke patients may not be eligible for these if they don’t arrive at the hospital in time.

If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. and do the following simple test:

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.

Note the time when any symptoms first appear. This information helps health care providers determine the best treatment for each person. Do not drive to the hospital or let someone else drive you. Call an ambulance so that medical personnel can begin life-saving treatment on the way to the emergency room.

Treating a Transient Ischemic Attack

If your symptoms go away after a few minutes, you may have had a transient ischemic attack (TIA). Although brief, a TIA is a sign of a serious condition that will not go away without medical help.

Unfortunately, because TIAs clear up, many people ignore them. But paying attention to a TIA can save your life. Tell your health care team about your symptoms right away.

More Information

From CDC:

  • Stroke
  • Know the Facts About Stroke
  • Men and Stroke
  • Women and Stroke

From other organizations:


Stroke: Know What Puts You at Most Risk

At Risk for a Stroke? These Are the Top 10 Signs

A stroke happens when blood flow to a part of your brain is cut off. Without the oxygen in blood, brain cells start dying within minutes. To help prevent a stroke, learn about the causes and the things that can raise your odds of getting one.

A stroke can happen in two main ways: Something blocks the flow of blood, or something causes bleeding in the brain.

Ischemic stroke. In 8 10 strokes, a blood vessel that takes blood to your brain gets plugged. It happens when fatty deposits in arteries break off and travel to the brain or when poor blood flow from an irregular heartbeat forms a blood clot.

Hemorrhagic stroke. It's less common than an ischemic stroke but can be more serious. A blood vessel in your brain balloons up and bursts, or a weakened one leaks. Uncontrolled high blood pressure and taking too much blood thinner medicine can lead to this kind of stroke.

Some people have what's called a transient ischemic attack (TIA). This “mini stroke” is due to a temporary blockage. It doesn't cause permanent brain damage, but it raises your odds of having a full-scale stroke.

You can treat some conditions that make you more ly to have a stroke. Other things that put you at risk can't be changed:

High blood pressure. Your doctor may call it hypertension. It's the biggest cause of strokes. If your blood pressure is typically 140/90 or higher, your doctor will discuss treatments with you.

Tobacco. Smoking or chewing it raises your odds of a stroke. Nicotine makes your blood pressure go up. Cigarette smoke causes a fatty buildup in your main neck artery. It also thickens your blood and makes it more ly to clot. Even secondhand smoke can affect you.

Heart disease. This condition includes defective heart valves as well as atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat, which causes a quarter of all strokes among the very elderly. You can also have clogged arteries from fatty deposits.

Diabetes. People who have it often have high blood pressure and are more ly to be overweight. Both raise the chance of a stroke. Diabetes damages your blood vessels, which makes a stroke more ly. If you have a stroke when your blood sugar levels are high, the injury to your brain is greater.

Weight and exercise. Your chances of a stroke may go up if you're overweight. You can lower your odds by working out every day. Take a brisk 30-minute walk, or do muscle-strengthening exercises pushups and working with weights.

Medications. Some medicines can raise your chances of stroke.

For instance, blood-thinning drugs, which doctors suggest to prevent blood clots, can sometimes make a stroke more ly through bleeding.

Studies have linked hormone therapy, used for menopause symptoms hot flashes, with a higher risk of strokes. And low-dose estrogen in birth control pills may also make your odds go up.

Age. Anyone could have a stroke, even babies in the womb. Generally, your chances go up as you get older. They double every decade after age 55.

Family. Strokes can run in families. You and your relatives may share a tendency to get high blood pressure or diabetes. Some strokes can be brought on by a genetic disorder that blocks blood flow to the brain.

Gender. Women are slightly less ly to have a stroke than men of the same age. But women have strokes at a later age, which make them less ly to recover and more ly to die as a result.

Race. Strokes affect African-Americans and nonwhite Hispanic Americans much more often than any other group in the U.S. Sickle cell disease, a genetic condition that can narrow arteries and interrupt blood flow, is also more common in these groups and in people whose families came from the Mediterranean, the Middle East, or Asia.


CDC: “Stroke.”

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “Brain Basics: Preventing Stroke.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Know Your Risk Factors for Stroke,” “Transient Ischemic Attack,” “Understanding Stroke,” “What is a Stroke?”

Merck Manuals Online: “Stroke: Introduction.”

National Stroke Association: “Am I at risk for a stroke?” “Hemorrhagic stroke,” “What Is Stroke?”” “Stroke.”

American Heart Association: “Stroke Risk Factors.”

American Stroke Association: “Let's Talk About Risk Factors for Stroke,” “Stroke Risks.”

American College of Cardiology: “Understanding Risks of Stroke and Blood Thinners.”

American Society of Hematology: “Sickle Cell Anemia.”

© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. Atherosclerosis & Stroke



At Risk for a Stroke? These Are the Top 10 Signs

A stroke is a serious life-threatening medical condition that happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.

Strokes are a medical emergency and urgent treatment is essential.

The sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is ly to happen.

If you suspect that you or someone else is having a stroke, phone 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance.

While everyone is being told to stay at home, it can be hard to know what to do if you’re unwell.

It's still important to get medical help if you need it.

Do not delay if you feel very unwell or think there's something seriously wrong. Call 999.

The main symptoms of stroke can be remembered with the word FAST:

  • Face – the face may have dropped on 1 side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.
  • Arms – the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in 1 arm.
  • Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you're saying to them.
  • Time – it's time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms.

all organs, the brain needs the oxygen and nutrients provided by blood to function properly.

If the supply of blood is restricted or stopped, brain cells begin to die. This can lead to brain injury, disability and possibly death.

There are 2 main causes of strokes:

  • ischaemic – where the blood supply is stopped because of a blood clot, accounting for 85% of all cases
  • haemorrhagic – where a weakened blood vessel supplying the brain bursts

There's also a related condition called a transient ischaemic attack (TIA), where the blood supply to the brain is temporarily interrupted.

This causes what's known as a mini-stroke. It can last a few minutes or persist up to 24 hours.

TIAs should be treated urgently, as they're often a warning sign you're at risk of having a full stroke in the near future.

Seek medical advice as soon as possible, even if your symptoms get better.

Certain conditions increase the risk of having a stroke, including:

Treatment depends on the type of stroke you have, including which part of the brain was affected and what caused it.

Strokes are usually treated with medication. This includes medicines to prevent and dissolve blood clots, reduce blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels.

In some cases, procedures may be required to remove blood clots. Surgery may also be required to treat brain swelling and reduce the risk of further bleeding if this was the cause of your stroke.

People who survive a stroke are often left with long-term problems caused by injury to their brain.

Some people need a long period of rehabilitation before they can recover their former independence, while many never fully recover and need ongoing support after their stroke.

Local authorities should provide free reablement services for anyone assessed as needing them.

These services help the person recovering from a stroke learn or relearn the skills they need to live at home independently.

Some people will continue to need some form of care or help with their daily activities.

For example, a care worker may come to the person's home to help with washing and dressing, or to provide companionship.

Read about:

If you're recovering from a stroke or caring for someone who is, it may be useful to read a guide to care and support.

This is written for people with care and support needs, as well as their carers and relatives.

If you have had a stroke and you're worried about coronavirus, you can get advice about coronavirus and stroke from the Stroke Association.

You can significantly reduce your risk of having a stroke by:

If you have a condition that increases your risk of a stroke, it's important to manage it effectively. For example, taking medicine you have been prescribed to lower high blood pressure or cholesterol levels.

If you have had a stroke or TIA in the past, these measures are particularly important because your risk of having another stroke is greatly increased.

Stroke does not just affect adults. Every year around 400 children in the UK have a stroke, according to the Stroke Association.

Read more about childhood stroke on the Stroke Association website.

If you:

  • need help with day-to-day living because of illness or disability
  • care for someone regularly because they're ill, elderly or disabled (including family members)

Our guide to care and support explains your options and where you can get support.


Strokes, stroke symptoms, management of strokes, signs of a stroke

At Risk for a Stroke? These Are the Top 10 Signs

Johns Hopkins has two Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) certified Primary Stroke Centers — one at our main campus in downtown Baltimore and one at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

Symptoms of a Stroke

  • Sudden onset of numbness or weakness
  • Sudden onset of confusion or difficulty speaking
  • Sudden onset of vision loss
  • Sudden onset of dizziness or imbalance
  • Sudden onset of severe headache

If you should experience any of these symptoms, please call 911 immediately!

Types of Stroke

  • Hemorrhagic Stroke — A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by the rupture of a blood vessel with bleeding into the tissue of the brain.
  • Ischemic stroke — Ischemic stroke is by far the most common type of stroke, accounting for approximately 80-90% of all strokes.

    Ischemic stroke refers to a situation in which a region of the brain is deprived of blood flow, usually due to either a blood clot or blockage of the artery by atherosclerosis (e.g. cholesterol deposits in the artery). Risk factors for ischemic stroke include increasing age, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, smoking and elevated cholesterol.

    At each age, stroke is more common in men than women, and it is more common among African-Americans than white Americans. However, because women live longer than men, more women than men die of stroke each year. Treatment involves reducing risk factors and identifying the source of the blockage.

    Once the specific cause of an ischemic stroke is found, the best treatment can be determined.

  • Transient Ischemic Attack — A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is similar to an ischemic stroke in that it is caused by a blocked artery, but the symptoms clear up completely, usually in under an hour. Most TIAs last only five or ten minutes long.

    Because they are brief and not painful, TIAs are often ignored by patients. However, a TIA may precede a stroke by days or weeks and represent a warning sign. Patients with TIA?s should undergo a comprehensive evaluation quickly, because sometimes an underlying problem is discovered which can be treated, averting a stroke.

    Of 1,707 TIA patients evaluated in the emergency department of a large health care plan, 180 patients or ten percent developed stroke within 90 days. (American Heart Association Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics — 2004 Update)

Stroke in Young Adults:

Up to 10% of strokes may occur in relatively young individuals (under 45 years of age) and represent a challenge in terms of diagnosis and treatment. Patients typically undergo a detailed evaluation including brain imaging, vascular studies, cardiac evaluations and hematologic assessment using the most advanced diagnostic techniques.

The cerebrovascular team at Johns Hopkins has expertise in the diagnosis and management of a variety of uncommon conditions which may occur in young adults, such as arterial dissection, vasculitis, cerebral vein thrombosis and moya-moya syndrome. We often include pediatric neurologists in the evaluation of children with stroke as well.

Stroke Prevention:

  • Stop smoking!
  • Get regular exercise (20 minutes a day three-to-four times per week). Going for a stroll counts.
  • Eat fish two-to-three times a week
  • Lose weight to help control blood pressure
  • Have your doctor check blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugars
  • If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, work with your doctor to control it.

For more information, contact the Johns Hopkins Cerebrovascular Center at 410-955-2228