According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 795,000 Americans experience a stroke each year. But what exactly is a stroke?

Our team at AFC Urgent Care Hixson want you to know how to recognize the symptoms of a stroke, as well as how you can reduce your risk of having a stroke in the first place.

What Happens During a Stroke?

A stroke is a sudden disruption of blood flow to the brain. It occurs when the artery carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked by a clot or when the artery bursts.

When this happens, essential oxygen is no longer being carried to the brain and brain cells to begin to die, which is why time is of the essence when it comes to treating a stroke. If a person is exhibiting stroke symptoms, emergency medical care is needed immediately.

Symptoms of a Stroke

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
  • Dizziness
  • Face or limb numbness, usually one side of your body
  • Trouble walking

What Are the Risk Factors for Stroke?

There are a number of risk factors for stroke. While there are some risk factors that you cannot control—like your age, gender, race, family medical history and ethnicity—there are some risk factors that can be controlled.

Take steps to lower your risk by practicing healthy lifestyle habits. Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and get plenty of quality sleep. High blood pressure and diabetes are risk factors, so if you have either, it’s important to properly manage your condition.

Stroke Prevention

  • Maintain a normal blood pressure.
  • Lose weight, if needed.
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes on most days.
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.
  • Limit sodium intake.
  • Manage stress effectively.

It is important to live a healthy lifestyle to help reduce your risk of stroke now and in the future. Visit AFC Urgent Care Hixson today for a wellness check—no appointment is needed.