Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a stroke. In 2008 alone, more than 133,000 Americans, or one person every four minutes died from a stroke, making it the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

A stroke occurs when a blockage stops the flow of blood to the brain or when a blood vessel in or around the brain bursts. Although many people think of a stroke as a condition that affects only older adults, strokes can and do affect people of all ages.  A quarter of all strokes occur in people younger than age 65.

Each year, almost 800,000 strokes occur in the United States, leading to serious, life-changing complications.  The sooner a patient receives medical treatment, the lower the risk for death or disability. Protect yourself and loved ones, and know the signs of a stroke.  If you or someone you know exhibits the following signs or symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Signs of a Stroke:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding.
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance and coordination.
  • Severe headache with no known cause.

Getting immediate medical attention for a stroke is crucial to preventing disability and death, so don’t delay—dial 9-1-1.