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You may know to get urgent help for a heart attack, but did you know the signs of stroke are just as serious? Think of stroke as a brain attack, which happens when blood flow to the brain is blocked and cells begin to die.

Stroke can cause death or permanent disability. Treatment is most effective within the first three hours—and the sooner the treatment, the better chance of survival.

What Are the Signs of Stroke?

When blood flow to the brain is blocked, that's when you're against the clock. When you suspect someone is having a stroke, think F.A.S.T.:

FACE
Ask the person to smile. Is one side of the face drooping or numb?

ARMS
Ask the person to raise both arms. Is one arm weak or numb?

SPEECH
Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "the sky is blue." Is speech slurred?

TIME
If you or another person show any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.

These warning signs may last only a few moments, then go away. Even if the symptoms go away or lessen in severity, you still need to seek treatment — these could be "mini-strokes" and a signal that a larger stroke is coming.

Additional signs of stroke may include sudden:

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

Stroke is a medical emergency and receiving timely stroke treatment is an important step to recovery. Treatment must be started within the first few hours after symptoms begin to be effective.

Calling 911 means that emergency medical personnel can begin assessment on the way to the hospital and a specialized medical team can be ready on arrival.

Who Is At Risk for Stroke?

Anyone can have a stroke, but some people have a higher risk.

Some risk factors are trait-based:

  • Age 55 or older
  • Female
  • African American, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander
  • Family history of stroke or heart attack

Take steps to help control these risk factors:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Not enough physical activity
  • Using tobacco or alcohol

There are many factors you can control by living a healthy lifestyle. If you have these risk factors, talk with your doctor about ways to reduce your risk.

Nationally Recognized Stroke Care

Carle Foundation Hospital has been ranked by Healthgrades® as among the top 50 hospitals in the nation and has received a five-star rating for treatment of strokes every year since 2007. It's also been the recipient of the Healthgrades Stroke Care Excellence Award™ each year since 2009. CFH received the AHA/ASA Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus quality achievement award and Target: Stroke Honor Roll.

Carle BroMenn Medical Center is designated as a Primary Stroke Center and is the recipient of the AHA/ASA Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus quality achievement award and Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite.

Carle Hoopeston Regional Health Center, Carle Eureka Hospital and Carle Richland Memorial Hospital are recognized as Acute Stroke Ready Hospitals.

Treated Conditions

Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM)
Carotid and Vertebral Artery Dissection
Cavernous Malformation
Dural AV Fistula
Intracerebral Hemorrhage
Intracranial Atherosclerotic Disease

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With doctors practicing in 80 specialties at locations throughout the region, it’s easy to find the right healthcare team at Carle. Our mission is to serve people through high quality care, medical research and education.

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