Strokes strike quickly—typically without warning. That’s why it’s critical to know the signs of stroke and act fast.
You might experience sudden:
- Numbness, tingling, weakness or loss of movement in your face, leg or arm, especially on one side
- Trouble speaking or understanding
- Severe headache for unknown reasons
- Vision changes in one or both eyes
- Loss of balance and/or coordination
What Increases Your Risk?
Several factors make it more likely you will have a stroke:
- High blood pressure is the strongest predictor of a stroke. In fact, someone with high blood pressure has a much greater chance of stroke before age 80.
- Older age: Although stroke can occur at any age, the risk doubles every decade between the ages of 55 and 85.
- Race: Blacks and Hispanics are more prone to stroke.
- Smoking can lead to blood clots and raise blood pressure.
- Mini-strokes, or TIAs.
- Physical inactivity or being obese.
- High cholesterol.
Stroke and heart disease share many risk factors. Over time, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, not getting enough exercise, and being overweight, can cause changes in the heart or blood vessels that can lead to stroke and other cardiac events.
Certain conditions, including atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), heart valve disorders and an enlargement of one of the heart’s chambers can result in clots breaking loose and blocking blood supply to the brain.