Stroke 101: How To Identify And Prevent Stroke


Strokes come in two major forms: ischemic, which is the most common, and hemorrhagic.

With an ischemic stroke, a blood clot or other blockage impairs blood flow to a portion of the brain. This can result in a lot of neurologic symptoms, depending on where in the brain it impacts.

Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel opens up and bleeding extends to the brain tissue. Symptoms are similar to ischemic strokes, but the outcome can be much more severe if not addressed in a timely manner.

BE FAST: Why Immediate Intervention Is So Critical

The best way to lessen potential brain damage and long-term disability is to intervene as quickly as possible. The medical community utilized the acronym BE FAST to spread awareness.

  • B-Balance: trouble walking, loss of coordination, dizziness

  • E-Eyes: loss of vision, double vision, eyes fixed to one side of the body

  • F-Face: asymmetry, drooping, twisting

  • A-Arm: weakness or inability to hold one’s arm up

  • S-Speech: slurred speech, confusion, not being able to put words together

  • T-Time: the need to act immediately is of utmost importance

The most important predictor of someone’s recovery and survival from a stroke is how quickly you can get to emergency medical attention. It’s important not to wait if you or a loved one are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms of a stroke. Call 911 and get emergency medical care.

Stroke Is Preventable

Up to 80% of strokes are preventable. The most common modifiable risk factor is blood pressure. Other risk factors include high cholesterol, diabetes, atrial fibrillation and tobacco use. Living a sedentary lifestyle, eating an unhealthy diet, and sleep apnea are also associated with stroke and increase one’s risk.

Regular checks with a primary care provider are important. They will assess your overall health and counsel you on how you can modify your lifestyle choices and what medications you may or may not need in order to lower stroke risk.

For more information on stroke and other neurological care services offered at UM BWMC, visit To schedule an appointment with a UM BWMC brain specialist at the Glen Burnie or Annapolis locations, call 410-553-8160.


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