4 things to know about having a stroke

Being proactive could save someone’s life

In situations where every second counts, we often hear about what to do immediately in case of a heart attack. But what about a brain attack? Knowing the symptoms of a stroke and acting fast can save someone’s life.

To understand the risk factors, symptoms and things we can do to prevent a stroke, we spoke with Dr. Wazim Mohamed, M.D., a neurologist and the medical director for the stroke program at the Detroit Medical Center.

Dr. Mohamed shared four truths about a stroke that many people may not know.

1. Stroke is a leading cause of disability in the United States. Majority of strokes happen due to a blood clot, which blocks blood flow to a region of the brain. The brain cells can die if the blood flow is not restored which can lead to disabilities.

2. Most of the conditions that cause a heart attack can also cause a stroke. Things like high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, smoking, heart disease, obesity and high cholesterol are some of the most common causes for a stroke. Atrial Fibrillations (AFib) is also something that can put you at risk for a stroke.

3. A headache is NOT a common symptom of a stroke. Dr. Mohamed said to remember the acronym BE FAST to help recognize a stroke symptom. B - Balance is off. E - Eyes are blurry. F - Face droops. A - Arms are weak. S - Speech is slurred. T - time to act and call 911.

4. A stroke CAN be prevented. The key is to be proactive and control the risk factors mentioned above. Quitting smoking is essential. It can half your risk of having a stroke within 1 year. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will also go a long way.

You can take a free online assessment about your risk for stroke by visiting the DMC website here.