Hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. suffer a stroke every year. It’s among the top causes of death and long-term disability. Since anyone can potentially suffer a stroke—even younger adults – everyone should know the warning signs. The sooner a stroke victim reaches the hospital, the better the chances of saving his or her life. At Riverside Community Hospital, a certified Primary Stroke Center, our dedicated team of specialists works around the clock to save lives and improve long-term outcomes.
Understanding how stroke happens
The accompanying video features a neuroradiologist at Riverside Community Hospital. He explains that stroke occurs when there is reduced blood flow to an area of the brain, causing that brain tissue to become deprived of essential oxygen and nutrients. Within minutes, the brain cells begin to die.
There are two main types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. The majority of stroke patients suffer ischemic stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel supplying the brain is blocked. This can happen when a blood clot forms in that blood vessel, or when a blood clot forms elsewhere and travels to the brain.
The other type, hemorrhagic stroke, occurs when a blood vessel ruptures and causes bleeding on the brain. The blood that fills the space in the skull puts pressure on the delicate brain tissue.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke
The symptoms of stroke develop suddenly, such as a sudden, severe headache that has no apparent cause. Other symptoms include:
- Numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body
- Difficulty understanding speech or speaking
- Vision impairment in one or both eyes
- Trouble walking
- Loss of balance
- Lack of coordination
A 911 dispatcher should be notified immediately if any of these symptoms develop suddenly.
Reducing your risk of stroke
Most cases of stroke are preventable. Talk to your doctor about managing the medical conditions that may increase your risk of stroke, such as:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal cholesterol
- Sickle cell disease
A heart-healthy lifestyle is also effective for reducing the risk of stroke. Consider making the following changes, if applicable.
- Quit smoking
- Avoid secondhand smoke
- Avoid or limit alcohol
- Lose weight
- Eat well
Call 911 right now if you or someone else might be suffering a stroke in the Riverside area. For non-emergency, general healthcare questions, a registered nurse at Riverside Community Hospital is available at (951) 788-3463. Our designation as a Primary Stroke Center reflects our commitment to providing superior, patient-focused care that leads to the best possible outcome for stroke patients.