Do you know what happens during a stroke?

GTU Sponsor

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. Without oxygen-rich blood, brain cells die. About 2 million brain cells die per minute during a stroke emergency. The most common strokes are classified as ischemic. An ischemic stroke occurs when a clot or a mass blocks a blood vessel, cutting off blood flow to a part of the brain.

Strokes are relatively common in the U.S as well. Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds (about 800,000 people each year). Every 3 minutes 42 seconds, someone dies of a stroke.  Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability and the leading preventable cause of disability. Stroke, or vascular dementia, is also a leading cause of memory loss. 

A stroke can happen at any age, but risk tends to increase with age. At younger ages, men are more likely than women to have a stroke, but, since women tend to live longer, their lifetime risk of having a stroke is higher. Your risk of having a stroke is higher if a parent or other family member has had a stroke, particularly at a younger age. Medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart, and blood vessel disease can increase your risk of stroke.

What are the symptoms to look for during a stroke?

  • Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
  • Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” 
  • Time to Call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.

Only one symptom (face drooping, arm weakness, or speech difficulty) needs to be present to signify that you need to call 9-1-1.

Even as COVID-19 cases strain emergency medicine, experts say calling 9-1-1 is still the best way to access life-saving treatments for people who are experiencing stroke symptoms. Hospitals have plans in place to keep potentially contagious patients away from others and keep surfaces clean. Calling 9-1-1 and activating Emergency Medical Services (EMS) will ensure that you have the best possible chance to beat a heart attack or stroke. EMS can begin treatment in the ambulance and take you to the hospital best suited to care for you in an emergency. 

Stroke Care at University of Utah Health can provide a detailed overview of stroke care guidelines.

This story contains sponsored content.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

GTU Sponsors