Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability in the United States.

A stroke cuts off vital blood flow and oxygen to the brain. It occurs when a blood vessel to the brain is blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, so it starts to die.

Treatment should start as soon after a stroke as possible for the best outcomes. Every second counts, so it is important to know the signs. Call 9-1-1 right away if you or someone you know shows any of these signs of a stroke:

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

Shady Grove Adventist Hospital and Washington Adventist Hospital – both part of the Adventist HealthCare system – recently received the Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association (AHA) for our expert, high-quality stroke care. Our teams are on call 24 hours a day to help stroke patients and minimize the chances of long-term disability.

Of course, prevention is the best course of treatment. You can reduce your stroke risk by:

  • Not smoking
  • Eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day
  • Avoiding foods high in fat, cholesterol and salt
  • Putting on your walking shoes – try to get at least 30 minutes of activity on most days
  • Keeping your blood pressure in check – talk with your doctor if you have high blood pressure as it is the most controllable risk factor for stroke.