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Stroke Signs, Symptoms and Prevention

Symptoms of a Stroke

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, 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

A stroke occurs when blood stops flowing to a part of the brain and the cells do not get blood and oxygen.  Deprived of oxygen, cells in the affected area of the brain can’t work and die within minutes.  The devastating effects of a stroke can be permanent because dead brain cells are not replaced. 

Minutes are ticking!



How to Prevent a Stroke

Control High Blood Pressure

  • High blood pressure damages blood vessels causing plaque to accumulate on the damaged surface and blood clots to form. This can result in a stroke.
  • Blood pressure readings of 140/90 or higher is considered high; target blood pressure should be under 120/80.
  • Eating a healthier diet, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can help control blood pressure.
  • Take your blood pressure medications as prescribed by your physician.

Keep Cholesterol Under Control

  • Total Cholesterol under 200
  • HDL Cholesterol above 40 (for men) above 50 (for women)
  • LDL Cholesterol under 100

Keep Diabetes Under Control

  • Check blood glucose and take medications
  • Exercise and healthy diet

Stop Smoking

  • Smoking damages blood vessels causing plaque to accumulate and blood clots to form
  • Maintain an active life style; exercise 30 minutes a day
  • Eat a healthy diet (low fat, lots of vegetables and fruit)


  • When a stroke occurs, 1.9 million brain cells die per minute. There is no time to waste.
  • The fastest way to the hospital is by ambulance. 
  • The EMTs will call ahead and alert the Emergency Department of your arrival so everything is ready when you arrive.
  • Responding quickly will allow you to benefit from clot busting medication - tPA- Tissue Plasminogen Activator, a medication that can actually break up the clot that is blocking the blood vessel. 
  • This treatment must be started soon after symptom onset – NOTE TIME OF SYMPTOM ONSET and call 911 and come to the Mercy Medical Center Emergency Department.

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Stroke Center

  • Stroke Signs, Symptoms and Prevention
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