If you or a loved one are having symptoms of a stroke, don’t delay. Call 911 immediately.
To prevent brain damage and permanent disability, blood flow must be restored quickly. Every second counts. The faster you can get to the hospital, the sooner doctors can help restore blood flow to the brain, usually by giving a medication (tissue plasminogen activator) to dissolve or break up the blood clot. This medicine needs to be given within three hours of the start of a stroke.
Other medicines can help prevent a new or future stroke.
Recovery and Rehabilitation
Some strokes are mild, but others can lead to severe brain damage—even premature death. How stroke affects someone will depend on where the stroke occurred and how quickly treatment is given, as well as their age, overall health and other factors.
Stroke can lead to:
- Paralysis (being unable to move parts of the body)
- Problems with balance or weakness on one side
- Loss of speech
- Impaired judgment or behavior
- Memory loss
- Issues with bladder or bowel function
- Difficulty swallowing
- Emotional disturbances
If you’ve survived a stroke, there are ways to regain lost function and relearn skills. Rehabilitation can help and may include a combination of physical, occupational and speech therapy. The goal is to give you the best possibly recovery.
If you are at risk for stroke—or have already had one—there are steps you can take to help prevent having one. Try to:
- Lower your blood pressure if it is high and be sure to keep track of your number
- Get tested for diabetes
- Eat a healthy diet with little to no salt
- Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke
- Stay active
- Get to and maintain a healthy weight
- Keep up with your doctor’s visits and learn what your numbers mean, especially if your blood pressure is high
- Always take your medications as directed.