A stroke or "brain attack" (just like a heart attack) occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. When either of these things happen, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs.
When brain cells are lost during a stroke, functions controlled by that area of the brain are compromised. These abilities include speech, movement, sensation, balance, vision, cognition, memory, etc. The degree how much a stroke patient is affected depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged.
If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. to remember the warning signs:
BE F.A.S.T (Balance, Eye, Face, Arm, Speech, Time)
- Patient loses balance and falls or get dizzy.
- Complains of vision loss in one eye.
- There is a facial drop and asymmetrical smile.
- One arm (or a leg) is weak.
- Slurred speech or the patient does not understand or unable to make sentences
- If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately. Time is brain.
- Every 1 hr of major artery occlusion equals 7 years of “natural” brain aging.