Stroke Symptoms and Risk Factors

Did you know 80 percent of strokes can be prevented by developing healthy lifestyle habits to reduce stroke risk factors early on in life? Read on to learn important information on stroke symptoms and risk factors.

Stroke Risk Factors

High blood pressure is the number 1 reason that you might have a stroke. The risk of stroke is also increased by age, family history of stroke, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease.

Certain medications increase the chances of clot formation, therefore increasing your chance for a stroke. Birth control pills can cause blood clots, especially in women who smoke and who are older than 35.

Women are at an increased risk of having a stroke during pregnancy and in the following weeks after birth.

Drug use, alcohol abuse, head injury and bleeding disorders increase the risk of bleeding into the brain.

Stroke Symptoms

Stroke symptoms depend on what part of the brain is damaged. In some cases, a person may not even be aware that he or she has had a stroke. Usually, a SUDDEN development of one or more of the following indicates a stroke:

  • Weakness or paralysis of an arm, leg, side of the face, or any part of the body
  • Numbness, tingling, decreased sensation
  • Vision changes
  •  Slurred speech, inability to speak or understand speech, difficulty reading or writing
  •  Swallowing difficulties or drooling
  •  Loss of memory
  •  Vertigo (spinning sensation)
  •  Loss of balance or coordination
  • Personality changes
  • Mood changes (depression, apathy)
  • Drowsiness, lethargy, or loss of consciousness
  • Uncontrollable eye movements or eyelid drooping 

If one or more of these stroke symptoms are present and go away quickly, it may be a transient ischemic attack (TIA). A TIA is a temporary loss of brain function and a warning sign for a possible future stroke. 

If you or someone around you is experiencing symptoms of a stroke, don't wait. Call 911 or go to the emergency department immediately.