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Causes of Stroke

Approximately 40 percent of people can't identify a single symptom of stroke. Learn the signs—whether it's one sign or multiple signs, the longer a stroke progresses, the more brain tissue is destroyed. Simply put, time lost is brain lost.

Did you know that stroke is a leading cause of death in the United States? Because of this, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs of stroke. Fortunately, fast treatment can reduce damage to the brain and help avoid disabilities.

Prevent Stroke

There are, of course, ways to prevent stroke from even happening. These include:

  • getting exercise,
  • managing high blood pressure,
  • maintaining a healthy weight,
  • quitting smoking,
  • eating foods low in sodium and added sugars, and
  • others.

A Brain Attack

Another name for stroke is brain attack, because a stroke is caused when blood flowing to the brain is stopped. Because the brain needs the oxygen and nutrients that the blood flow brings to the brain, this interruption causes brain cells to die without it after a few minutes. As you can imagine, changes in the brain because of this affect the way body functions.

Also, when a person has a stroke, it can be one of two different kinds, both caused by slightly different factors. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot or piece of plaque blocks a major blood vessel.

The other kind of stroke, a hemorrhagic stroke, occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts and spills blood into the surrounding brain tissue. Recovery from these strokes will depend on the size and location of the stroke.

Sometimes an individual may experience smaller strokes (ischemic strokes) and not realize it. As a matter of fact, about 87 percent of strokes are ischemic or minor strokes. Only 13 percent are hemorrhagic. This is another reason it’s important to know the signs of stroke.

Signs of Stroke

Stroke is the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of disability. Know these warning signs of stroke and teach them to others. Every second counts even if the symptoms subside.

FACE: Does one side droop?

Things to look for or ask:

  • Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the mouth hang lower than the other? 
  • Can the person feel you touch their face? Lightly touch them on both sides and ask them if the feeling is the same.

ARMS: Does one arm drift downward?

Things to look for or ask:

  • Ask the person to raise both their arms up together. Does one arm begin to fall down? 
  • Ask the person to squeeze your fingers with each hand. Is one hand weaker than the other? 
  • If you ask the person to try to hold something like a pen, can they do it without any difficulty? 
  • Can the person feel you touch them on their arm? Lightly touch them on the skin of both arms and ask them if the feeling is the same on each.

SPEECH: Are words slurred or mispronounced?

Things to look for or ask:

  • Are they having problems speaking? 
  • Are they having problems "getting their words out"? 
  • Do they sound like they have something in their mouth when they speak? 
  • Are they saying the appropriate words (do their words make sense) when they speak? 

TIME: Time lost is brain lost?


  • Call 911 if you experience any one of the symptoms.

Treatment is most effective when started immediately, greatly increasing chances of survival and decreasing chances of brain damage. 

If you see the person experiencing just one of these symptoms, even if it goes away, do not wait. Call 911 immediately - tell the dispatcher that the person may be having a stroke and request transport to a hospital certified in stroke care. 

Stroke Treatment

Treatment for stroke includes medications and/or life support treatments, like machines to assist breathing, IV fluids, blood pressure control, and others applied by emergency-trained personnel.

Sometimes surgery may be performed to prevent a stroke or after it has occurred. The best treatment that we can apply ourselves is preventive treatment. Consult a doctor and study the signs of stroke to be prepared.

Meet Our Patients


When Whitney Meyers got to the top of her stairs, she felt dizzy and needed to lay down. She couldn't get off the floor and asked her children to get her sister for help. When her sister arrived, Whitney's face had drooped to one side—a telltale sign of a stroke.