The NIH Urges Bystanders to Recognize the Signs of Stroke and Call 9-1-1 Immediately
MAY 10, 2012 - 15:34 ET
FOR: NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH; NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS AND STROKE
Know the sudden signs of stroke. If you see someone experiencing any of these stroke symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Help educate the public about the signs and symptoms of stroke and the importance of getting to the hospital quickly.
Prompt treatment can dramatically decrease or even prevent long-term disabilities caused by a stroke.
Prompt Treatment Can Dramatically Decrease or Even Prevent Long-Term Disabilities Caused by a Stroke
BETHESDA, MD--(Marketwire - May 10, 2012) - May is National Stroke Awareness Month. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is urging the public to know the symptoms of stroke and to call 9-1-1 if they witness someone having a stroke.
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of adult disability. Someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds in the United States, with a stroke-related death occurring every 4 minutes. Stroke is often more common and more deadly, with incidence and mortality rates significantly higher, among African Americans and Hispanics. Yet, many people do not know the symptoms or what to do when they witness someone having a stroke.
"Stroke is so often an unmistakable event. Few other medical conditions come on so suddenly or are so noticeable as sudden paralysis or inability to speak," said Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D., deputy director, NINDS. "It is critical that bystanders know to call 9-1-1 when witnessing someone having a stroke. Getting to the hospital quickly to receive appropriate medical treatment can dramatically decrease or even prevent long-term disabilities."
A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted or if bleeding occurs in or around the brain. Brain cells die when deprived of oxygen and nutrients provided by blood. Because stroke injures the brain, the person having a stroke may not realize what is happening. But to a bystander, the signs of a stroke are distinct:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body)
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
In treating a stroke, every minute counts. Treatments are available that greatly reduce the damage caused by a stroke, but, according to NINDS research, people must arrive at the hospital within 60 minutes after symptoms start to have the best chance of effective treatment. Making lifestyle changes can help prevent stroke. Risk factors include high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, heart disease, family history of stroke, high cholesterol, and being overweight.
To learn more about NINDS research on stroke prevention and treatment, stroke symptoms and signs, and to order free educational materials, visit stroke.nih.gov.
NINDS (ninds.nih.gov) is the nation's leading funder of research on the brain and nervous system. The NINDS mission is to reduce the burden of neurological disease -- a burden borne by every age group, by every segment of society, by people all over the world. To learn more about NINDS research news, visit http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/stroke/press_stroke.htm.
About the Know Stroke Campaign
NINDS developed the Know Stroke campaign to help educate the public about the signs and symptoms of stroke and calling 9-1-1 to seek immediate treatment. The campaign includes outreach to consumers and health care professionals using mass media, grassroots efforts, partnerships, and community education. Please visit stroke.nih.gov for more information.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit nih.gov.