Your brain needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients in order to function, and even a brief interruption in blood supply can cause brain damage. A stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is disrupted. Nearly 800,000 Americans will have a stroke each year, and stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability — and the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S.
The two types of stroke are:
- Ischemic stroke – when blood vessels supplying the brain become blocked or clogged
- Hemorrhagic stroke – when blood vessels in the brain rupture and leak blood into the surrounding tissues
Brain cells and tissue begin to die after just a few minutes without blood or oxygen. Ischemic strokes are more common than hemorrhagic strokes, but both types are dangerous and deadly if not treated quickly.
Preventing permanent brain damage, and even death, means knowing the signs and symptoms of a stroke and acting quickly by calling 911 immediately. Keep in mind, someone experiencing a stroke may not be able to call for help, or may not understand that he or she is in danger.
To quickly recognize and handle a stroke event, you'll need to BE FAST. This acronym can help you remember the signs and symptoms of a stroke, as well as what to do if someone is experiencing one.