Stroke, or brain attack, is the third leading cause of death among Americans.
You may be able to protect yourself by knowing the warning signs and seeking
treatment quickly at the nearest emergency room.
A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is suddenly stopped. Often,
it happens within seconds. Without fast action and proper medical attention,
a stroke can result in long-term health effects and disability, blocked
blood flow or even death.
About one-third of all strokes are preceded by one or more warning signs
of a stroke, called Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs). TIAs can occur
days, weeks or even months before the stroke. TIAs are temporary interruptions
of blood to the brain, whereby symptoms of stroke appear for a very short
time and then disappear, usually from a few minutes to several hours,
with complete recovery within 24 hours.
Ask the person to smile.
Does one side of the face droop?
Ask the person to raise both arms.
Does one arm drift downward?
Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase.
Is his or her speech slurred?
If you observe any of these signs,
call 911 immediately.
Unfortunately, many patients do not seek immediate help when stroke symptoms
appear. If care is delayed, it may be too late for new treatments to be
effective. Recognizing the warning signs of stroke and responding rapidly
gives the patient the best probability for the most favorable recovery.
For more information, speak with your primary care physician or visit
the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association at
You also may contact the association at 1-888-4-STROKE.