What is a stroke?

A stroke happens when a blood vessel carrying oxygen to the brain becomes blocked by a clot (ischemic stroke) or ruptures (hemorrhagic stroke). When this occurs, part of the brain no longer receives the oxygen it needs, and the tissue in that area starts to die.

Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) are stroke symptoms that go away shortly after starting due to momentary blockages, but produce no lasting damage. Even if your symptoms disappear entirely, it is critical that you follow up with a neurologist to assess your continued risk of stroke.

Warning signs of stroke

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding others
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden dizziness, loss of coordination or balance or trouble walking
  • Sudden severe headache with no obvious cause

At a Primary Stroke Center, part of our goal is to educate you on the signs, symptoms and risk of stroke. If you think you or someone may be suffering a stroke, remember this little test. Only one symptom may be present, and recognizing it immediately may make all the difference.

To recognize signs of stroke - remember BEFAST 

  • B stands for balance: Ask the patient if they can walk. Do they veer to one side? Are they dizzy?
  • E stands for Eyes: Cover one eye at a time and ask if they have vision changes.
  • F stands for face. Ask the person to smile. See if one side of the mouth droops.
  • A stands for arms. Ask the person to lift both arms. See if one uncontrollably lowers.
  • S stands for speech. Ask the person to repeat simple phrases to see if there is difficulty or confusion.
  • T stands for time. If a person exhibits any of these symptoms, time is of the essence. Call 911 immediately. Tell them you think it may be a stroke.

Risk of stroke

The vast majority of strokes occur in people older than 60, but risk factors can make people as young as 40 highly susceptible as well, and women have a slightly higher risk than men due to contraceptive use.

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Lack of exercise
  • Smoking

Everyone needs to understand stroke

Although uncommon under age 40, people of all ages can suffer a stroke.

Everyone should understand the risk factors and symptoms because people suffering a stroke cannot help themselves and often don’t even realize something is wrong.

It is most often up to a spouse, family member, or even a passerby on the street to be aware that someone is having a stroke and be prepared to give assistance.

Learn about your risk factors: Attend a FREE stroke seminar

Get With The Guidelines® - Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award

American Heart Association - Get with the guidelines - Gold Plus Stroke AwardThe care our patients receive at EIRMC is our number one priority. That’s why we’re proud to be recognized by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association with the Stroke Gold Plus Award for our excellence in implementing the Get With The Guidelines program. The award recognizes Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.