stroke care

Stroke Facts

Reduce your risk & respond to stroke immediately

Did you know that stroke is the leading cause of disability and the third leading cause of death in the U.S.? 85 percent of strokes could be prevented just by controlling the risk factors.

Remember the three R’s of stroke:

  • Reduce risk
  • Recognize symptoms
  • Respond immediately

Reduce your stroke risk

  • Manage Blood Pressure: Keep it under 120/80. High blood pressure damages the inside of your blood vessels and is the leading risk factor for stroke.
  • Do NOT smoke! Smoking doubles your risk for stroke.
  • Control your cholesterol: If you don't know your number, ask your physician about getting it checked.
  • Get some exercise every day: Weight, diet and exercise are all important. Exercise is important even if you're not overweight.
  • Control your blood sugar: If you have diabetes, work with your doctor to form a plan that works for you. Letting your blood sugar get high damages your blood vessels.
  • Avoid illegal drugs: Especially avoid methamphetamines and cocaine
  • If you have atrial fibrillation, work with your doctor to manage your heart rhythm or to prevent blood clots from forming
  • Get regular health check-ups: Talk with your doctor about your stroke risk.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Be sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and high-fiber foods such as beans and whole grains.
  • If your doctor has asked you to take aspirin or other medication to reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack, don't quit taking the medication on your own. If you are having medication side effects, speak with your doctor about a possible alternative.

Recognize symptoms

Common stroke symptoms include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Respond immediately

If you or someone else is having any of these symptoms, call 911!

  • People who arrive in the emergency room with stroke symptoms by ambulance get treated more quickly.
  • If you are having a stroke, emergency medical treatment could save your life and greatly improve your chances for successful recovery. The sooner treatment is started, the more likely it will be effective.
  • Even if your symptoms go away, you need urgent medical attention. Transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini-stroke may be a powerful warning that a full stroke may soon follow. Many of these strokes happen within hours or days after the TIA.

During a typical stroke, about 2 million brain cells per minute may die. It is important to get treatment as quickly as possible. Every minute counts.

The fourth R

If you have had a stroke, there is a fourth R: Rehab.

There is a myth that rehab is something that only happens for a limited time after a stroke, then the deficits that you have will always be there. More recent research has shown you can continue to improve your life and ability to function as long as you keep working at it.

Ask one of our rehab professionals for a therapeutic exercise routine you can do at home when your official therapy is finished.