A Word From Our Experts

May is American Stroke Awareness Month. Dr. Tariq Mahmood, a neurologist here at Union Hospital, discusses how every second counts when it comes to a stroke.

Tariq Mahmood, MD
Union Neurology

Warning Signs of a Stroke

Time is Brain

Seconds Count When You Suffer a Stroke

Can you recognize the warning signs of a stroke? It could save your life, especially if you are 55 or older. Stroke is the #3 cause of death in the United States and one of the leading causes of serious long-term disability in senior adults.  For every decade after the age of 55, the risk of stroke doubles. Indeed, more than two-thirds of all strokes occur after the age of 65.

A stroke occurs when there is a problem with the blood supply to the brain. A blood clot blocking an artery can cause a stroke as can a bursting of the wall of the artery. Within minutes, the nerve cells in that area of the brain are damaged, and the part of the body controlled by those cells cannot function properly.

The symptoms happen suddenly, and time is critical. Treatment for a stroke can be very effective, but in most cases, medical care must be administered within the first three hours after the symptoms appear.

Warning Signs of a Stroke

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on just one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble talking or understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden dizziness, loss of balance and coordination
  • Sudden severe headache

One of the best ways to prevent a stroke is to have a regular medical checkup with your primary care physician, who can check for heart disease, diabetes and other disorders that affect your blood vessels. By working closely with your doctor, you can develop a specific plan that will help you control your blood pressure and cholesterol through a combination of diet and exercise or medication.