Each year, 780,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke. Every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. suffers from stroke and on average, every three to four minutes someone dies from a stroke. Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability and the third leading cause of adult death.
Warning Signs of Stroke
One of our goals at Torrance Memorial Stroke Center is to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of stroke. Early treatment for stroke is essential. If you notice one or more of these signs in another person or yourself, don't wait. Call 911 immediately. Every second counts! Lost time means lost brain tissue.
Not all of these signs occur with every stroke. Some symptoms go away and return. Call 911 if you exhibit any of these signs and symptoms, or if you have them and they go away.
- Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
- Confusion, slurred speech or trouble speaking or understanding.
- Changes in vision-blurring or trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Dizziness, difficulty walking or loss of balance or coordination.
- Inability to speak, or understand.
- Severe headache with no known cause.
- Loss of consciousness.
You Are at Risk for Stroke
If you're getting older
The chance of having a stroke more than doubles for each decade after age 55.
Whether you're a man or a woman
The incidence and prevalence of stroke are about equal for men and women. However, at all ages, more women than men die of stroke.
If strokes run in your family
The chance of stroke is greater in people with a family history of stroke. African Americans have a much higher risk of disability and death from a stroke than Caucasians. Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death among Latinos. [Source: The American Stroke Association]
If you've already had a stroke
The risk of stroke for someone who has already had one is many times that of a person who has not.
If you have high blood pressure
This is the most important risk factor for stroke.
If you smoke or you take oral contraceptives and smoke
Cigarette smoking is an important risk factor for stroke. The use of oral contraceptives combined with cigarette smoking greatly increases stroke risk.
If you have diabetes
Having diabetes mellitus increases a person's risk of stroke.
If you have carotid artery disease
A carotid artery damaged by plaque buildup may become blocked by a blood clot, resulting in a stroke.
If you have heart disease
People with heart problems have more than twice the risk of stroke.
If you have had "mini strokes"
Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs, commonly known as "mini strokes") that produce stroke-like symptoms are strong predictors of stroke.
If you have a high red blood cell count
A moderate or marked increase in the red blood cell count is a risk factor for stroke; more red blood cells thicken the blood and make clots more likely.
Decrease Your Risk
- Getting regular physical exams and following your physician's recommendations for testing and medications
- Learning about a healthy diet and following through
- Eating a variety of nutritious foods
- Managing your cholesterol and blood pressure
- Exercising regularly
- Quitting smoking
- Maintaining a healthy weight