Sure, you’re most likely to have a stroke after age 65— but they can happen even earlier, like your thirties. Although your chances of being affected are less, the risk is much, much higher because doctors are less likely to diagnose signs of a stroke in a younger person.
What are stroke symptoms? Many organizations recommend using FAST:
F – Facial Weakness
A – Arm Weakness
S – Speech Difficulty
T – Time To Act
The biggest sign of stroke is a sudden onset of symptoms, regardless of how long the symptoms last. If one side of your body goes numb, speech becomes slurred, or you lose control of your limbs (another test: raise both arms—does one drift downward of its own will?), it’s time to head to the ER, and ask (or demand) an MRI.
You may have regained speech and control quickly, but something blocked blood flow to the brain, and likely will continue to do so—stroke treatment is almost entirely dependent on quick treatment (remember: time lost is brain lost), so getting a diagnosis is critical!
Most strokes are caused by general cardiovascular issues like blood clots (which break off and head toward the brain) and high blood pressure. Sometimes, repeated or sudden head injury can cause a blood vessel to rupture. Stroke symptoms rarely include pain, differentiating them from headaches in most cases (note, however, that migraine sufferers are at a slightly increased risk for stroke).
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