Learning the signs of stroke and acting FAST could save your life or a loved one’s

 By: Daniela Rusovici, MD, PhD, board-certified neurologist and a member of Parrish Medical Group.

Q: What causes a stroke?
A stroke is often called a brain attack. It happens when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel breaks and interrupts blood flow to an area of the brain. When either of these things happens, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs.
Q: Is there anything I can do to prevent a stroke?
Many risk factors are beyond your control, like being over age 55, being African-American, having diabetes, and having a family history of stroke. If you have one or more of these risk factors, it is even more important to learn about lifestyle and medical changes you can make to prevent a stroke.Medical stroke risk factors include a previous stroke, previous TIA (or mini stroke), high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, atrial fibrillation and carotid artery disease. With the help of a healthcare professional these risk factors can be controlled and managed.Your lifestyle also plays a part in stroke risk. Help yourself by quitting smoking, exercising regularly, watching what and how much you eat, and limiting alcohol consumption.

Q: What happens when brain cells die because of a stroke?
Where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged will determine how a stroke patient is affected. The abilities controlled by the damaged brain area are lost—speech, movement, and memory.

Some people may experience minor problems, like arm or leg weakness. A larger stroke may leave someone paralyzed on one side or unable to speak. Some people recover completely from strokes, but more than two-thirds of survivors will have some type of disability.

Q: Is there a way to tell if someone is having a stroke?
  Stroke is an emergency, so act FAST and call 9-1-1 immediately.

Use the FAST test to remember warning signs of stroke.

F = FACE: Ask the person to smile.
Does one side of the face droop?

A = ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S = SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?

T = TIME: If you observe any of these signs (independently or together), call 9-1-1 immediately.

Dr. Rusovici specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of the human nervous system — the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves.

Call for more information (321) 268-6PMG (6764).