A stroke occurs when part of your brain doesn't get the blood that it needs. Depending on the parts of the brain damaged by a stroke, people who survive a stroke can have problems with:
Thinking and memory
A stroke happens fast. The most common signs of stroke are sudden:
Numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (mainly on one side of the body)
Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance
Confusion or trouble talking or understanding speech
Very bad headache with no known cause
Women may also have other sudden symptoms, such as feeling sick to your stomach, face and arm or leg pain, hiccups, feeling very tired, chest pain, shortness of breath, or a racing heartbeat.
If you have any of these symptoms, call 911. Getting treatment within three hours from the start of symptoms increases your chances of walking away from a stroke with few or no disabilities.
Stroke is a leading cause of death for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. This is partly because many of the risk factors for stroke are common among Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. These risk factors include:
Don't smoke. If you smoke, try to quit. For help along the way, check out our Quitting Smoking section.
Keep a healthy weight.
Make physical activity a habit. Health benefits are gained by doing the following each week:
2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or
1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity or
A combination of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity and
Muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days of the week
Eat heart-healthy foods. Eat whole-grain foods, vegetables, and fruit. Choose lean meats and low-fat cheese and dairy products. Limit foods that have lots of saturated fat, like butter, whole milk, baked goods, ice cream, fatty meats, and cheese.
Know your numbers. Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. Follow your doctor's orders to keep your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels under control.
Brain Basics: Preventing Stroke - This brochure provides information on stroke prevention. It includes stroke warning signs, an explanation of risk factors, and a description of treatable risk factors.