How to Recognize and Respond to a Stroke


Strokes, also known as “brain attacks” or “brain bleeds,” are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Fortunately, there is an estimated 80% survival rate if properly treated within three hours of onset. The best way to recognize and respond to a stroke is by learning its symptoms and being aware of them when they happen.

Recognizing the signs of a stroke

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. It's also one of the most common causes of disability.

A stroke occurs when blood flow to your brain is interrupted by either a clot or bleeding inside your brain. Blood carries oxygen to your brain cells; without it, they start dying within minutes. If enough brain cells die from lack of oxygenated blood during this time period, you'll have permanent damage that can affect everything from movement to speech and memory functions--or even result in death if not treated immediately with medication or surgery within three hours after symptoms begin appearing

Responding to a stroke

  • Do not move the person unless they are in immediate danger. Keeping them still is important because it will help doctors determine if you need to call for medical assistance or if it's safe to transport someone home once they regain consciousness and can walk on their own. If you must move them, try to keep their head from moving around too much by using pillows or blankets as supports under their neck and back (but not under the head).
  • Keep asking questions until you find out what happened: "What day is it?" "Where are we?" Ask them if they remember having any dizziness or nausea before losing consciousness; this information can be crucial in determining whether this was just a fainting spell or something more serious--like an impending stroke!
  • If possible, ask someone else who was there at the time of injury/collapse whether any other symptoms were present during those moments: Were there any strange smells? Did they hear voices? See flashing lights? Feel tingling sensations anywhere on their body? These things might indicate some sort of toxic poisoning rather than being related solely to brain health issues like strokes do so don't rule anything out just yet even though most likely both scenarios could result in similar symptoms such as losing consciousness while standing up straight without warning first thing before passing out onto hard surfaces like sidewalks etcetera.

What to do if someone has a stroke in front of you

If you are with someone who has a stroke, help them by following these steps:

  • Call 911. If possible, call for help before moving the person.
  • Move the person to a safe place. If necessary, move furniture or other objects out of the way so that you can get them onto their back without hurting yourself or further injuring them.
  • Keep the person still after moving them to prevent further injury from falling over objects or hitting something else while you work on getting help from emergency services personnel as quickly as possible (this is especially important if they've fallen down stairs).
  • Stay with them until help arrives; do not leave until paramedics arrive! If necessary, try keeping track of how long it takes for first responders and other medical professionals to arrive at your location so that later on when talking about what happened during this critical moment when someone's life could have been saved had they received immediate care--and why it took longer than expected--you'll know exactly how long it took (or didn't take) for responders' arrival time frame instead having no idea whatsoever because everyone involved forgot all about this crucial detail due simply because nobody thought about recording information like that before leaving home each morning...


  • Stay with the person until help arrives.
  • Keep the person sitting up if they are able to, but don't force it if they are not responsive.
  • Try to keep the person awake by talking to them and shining a light in their eyes (this is called "doll's eye" testing). Do not give them anything to eat or drink; this could cause choking or vomiting, which can lead to further complications during treatment. If there is an airway obstruction, remove it if you can--but only if there isn't any blood coming from around the mouth area and only if you know how! You may need medical assistance before doing so; otherwise, just monitor breathing every few minutes for signs of distress until paramedics arrive on the scene

(if you are unsure, it’s better to leave the obstruction in place). If there is no airway obstruction and breathing does not appear to be adequate, try to administer CPR.


Although strokes can happen at any time, they are more likely to occur in the morning and evening. If you experience one of these symptoms, call 911 immediately and tell them that you think you're having a stroke.

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