What Does a Stroke Look Like?
Strokes are a medical emergency that can affect anyone at any age. Although they’re one of the top five leading causes of death in the U.S.,1 many people don’t know how to identify the symptoms of stroke. Knowing how to recognize the warning signs is critical for getting quick medical help and improving the chances of a positive outcome.
A stroke is treatable if it’s identified quickly and emergency medical care can be administered as soon as possible. This begs the question: Do you know what a stroke looks like? This blog will provide information on how to recognize the signs of stroke and what to do if you suspect someone is having one.
What Causes a Stroke?
A stroke occurs most commonly when blood flow to the brain is blocked because of a blood clot. Treatment can involve medication to “bust” the clot. In fewer cases, stroke can be caused by the rupture of a blood vessel in the brain and is treated by stopping the bleeding.3 Depending on how quickly a patient is treated, a stroke can result in serious damage to the brain and long-term disability, such as paralysis and loss of mobility.
Stroke Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of a stroke can vary from person to person, but some common warning signs include:
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech.
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body).
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
What to Do if You Suspect Stroke
Call 9-1-1 right away.
If you suspect someone is having a stroke, it is important to act quickly and call 911 right away. Every minute counts when it comes to treating stroke.
While waiting for medical help:
- Make sure that the person affected is in a comfortable position.
- Do not give them anything to eat or drink.
- Provide reassurance and support by talking calmly and assuring them help is on the way.
According to the CDC, time lost is brain lost. Getting treatment fast can reduce brain damage and increase the chances of survival and recovery. Treatments are most effective when stroke is recognized and diagnosed within three hours.
Quiz: Test your stroke awareness.
Stroke Prevention and Recovery
There are several risk factors for stroke. The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from a stroke is to be aware of your risk and ways to manage it.
Platinum markets a policy that can help supplement your finances in case of a stroke diagnosis or other critical illness. If you or a covered loved one is diagnosed with a stroke, you can receive a direct cash benefit to help offset out-of-pocket costs, such as emergency ambulatory transportation, hospital confinement, or drugs and medicine. This added financial security gives you peace of mind, so you can focus on recovery—not expenses.
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1Leading Causes of Death. (Jan. 18, 2023). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm
2Stroke Facts. (Oct. 14, 2022). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm.
3National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. (March 22, 2023). https://www.cdc.gov/stroke
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