How To Recognize A Stroke

-Dr.Dianne McCallister, Chief Medical Officer at Porter Adventist Hospital

Someone has a stroke every 45 seconds and 25 percent of these are in people under 65 years of age. Stroke is the third leading cause of death, and the number one cause of disability in the United States.

A stroke is a sudden interruption of blood flow to part of the brain, or when there is bleeding into the brain.

The most common type of stroke is caused by a blood clot that stops blood flow.

Other causes for stroke can include inflammation from diseases, bleeding into the brain from aneurysms bursting open or trauma.

How To Recognize A Stroke

Warning signs may include some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Severe and sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side or the other
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
Which symptoms a person gets depends on what part of the brain is affected.

If a person has trouble moving one part of their body, has numbness or tingling on one side, has difficulty with speech, is suddenly unable to see, or or is suddenly very dizzy, a stroke should be considered.

Get Medical Attention Immediately

If there are symptoms of a stroke, you should call 911 and get the person to the emergency room.

'Time is brain' - meaning that the more quickly a person is treated, the more brain we can save.

There are very effective treatments such as clot-busting drugs, but they must be given within a very short time-frame of about 3 hours from the first symptom.

At Centura, we’ve formed a stroke network to assure our patients get the right treatment no matter where in our system they first present.

Stroke Prevention

Strokes are preventable 80% of the time.

The things that help prevent stroke include:

  • Treating high blood pressure
  • Stop Smoking
  • Exercise 3-4 times per week
  • Treat high cholesterol
  • Keep diabetes controlled
  • Get evaluated for disease in the carotid arteries - and treated if it is there
  • Treatment of Transient Ischemic Attacks
  • Maintain a normal weight/ body mass index

Dr. McCallister is on 7NEWS at 11 a.m. every Wednesday. If you have a topic or question you would like her to discuss, email

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