Five “sudden symptoms” of stroke: Recognizing these could save a life – even a young life
LOS ANGELES. – Stroke is the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States. Each year an estimated 795,000 people in this country experience a stroke. Stroke is also the No. 1 cause of adult disability and it is no longer a disease only of the elderly. Nearly 20 percent of strokes occur in people younger than age 55, and over the past decade, the average age at stroke occurrence has dropped from 71 to 69. “The good news,” says Patrick D. Lyden, MD, chair of Neurology and director of the Stroke Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, “is that quickly recognizing the signs of stroke and seeking immediate medical care from stroke specialists can minimize the effects of the disease or even save a life. And just as important as knowing the symptoms is the knowledge that regardless of an individual’s age, those symptoms need to be treated as the emergency that they are.” It is important to emphasize the words “sudden” and “severe” and the number “one.” Any of these symptoms can occur in a mild, fleeting way and not be worrisome, but if any one of them comes on suddenly and is quite severe, it could signal the onset of a stroke, which increasingly is described as a “brain attack,” because like a heart attack, a stroke requires immediate action to improve the odds against disability and death.