HealthQuiz: Basics About Stroke Signs & Symptoms
Medically reviewed on Feb 18, 2018 by L. Anderson, PharmD.
Introduction: Drugs.com HealthQuiz on Stroke
Stroke Awareness is an important health initiative, so follow along with the Drugs.com HeathQuiz to:
- learn how to recognize a stroke
- investigate the kind of strokes that can occur
- learn what to do if you suspect one in yourself or someone else.
See our important HealthQuiz questions (first without the answers!), read along and learn, and then test your knowledge to see your results! Look for bolded clues as you go along.
Follow slide-by-slide to learn about stroke, how to recognize stroke symptoms, and maybe even help save a life one day. Are you ready for the HealthQuiz?
Preview Slide 1: Pre-Questions About Stroke
Below are some HealthQuiz pre-questions to get you thinking about important points in the slideshow:
- What is a stroke?
- Is how fast someone gets treatment an important factor in their health outcomes?
- What are the benefits of going to a certified stroke center?
- What are the F.A.S.T. rules for stroke symptoms?
- What should you do if you suspect someone is having a stroke?
Preview Slide 2: Pre-Questions About Stroke
And here's more HealthQuiz pre-questions to think about:
- What are the types of stroke and stroke symptoms?
- How is a stroke diagnosed?
- Should aspirin be used to prevent stroke?
- How can I decrease my risk for a stroke?
- What are some common treatments used to prevent a stroke?
What is a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when the blood and oxygen supply to part of the brain is suddenly blocked or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts.
Brain cells will die if they cannot receive oxygen and nutrients, or if there is bleeding in the brain. Doctors generally classify stroke into two categories:
Common stroke symptoms include:
- sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body
- vision trouble
- difficulty with walking or balance
- sudden severe headache with no known cause.
*Action Plan: Pay it forward -- teach others in your family about stroke symptoms.
How Do You Recognize a Stroke?
Signs and symptoms of stroke need to be quickly recognized not only by health care providers, but by family members and the general public, too. A stroke can happen anywhere, at any time.
- Speed of treatment is a crucial factor in stroke recovery.
- Treatment at the right healthcare facility is important, too -- a facility that is certified as a primary stroke center can provide evidence-based care defined by specific protocols, given by trained personnel, and using the latest treatments.
*Action Plan: Learn which hospitals are certified primary stroke centers in your area, and keep a list close-by. Call 911 if you suspect a stroke in anyone.
What is Meant by F.A.S.T?
F.A.S.T. is an acronym to help you remember stroke symptoms and what to do when you suspect a stroke in someone.
- F = FACE drooping. Drooping on one side of the mouth or face (often seen when smiling) is a sign of stroke.
- A = ARM weakness. Ask the person to raise their arms. Does one arm drift downward or can't be lifted?
- S = SPEECH difficulty. Is the person's speech slurred or garbled? Can they repeat a simple sentence?
- T = TIME to call 911.
Call for emergency help if you see any of these signs and note the time the symptoms first appeared.
*Action Plan: Memorize the F.A.S.T. rule.
What Should I Do if I Suspect Someone is Having a Stroke?
If you suspect a stroke, do not hesitate to call 911. Time is of the essence in stroke treatment to help prevent permanent disability or death.
- Tell the 911 operator you or someone you are with is having symptoms of a stroke>
- Ask for emergency transport to a primary stroke center.
- Remain calm and stay with the stroke victim until emergency help arrives.
- Ask the 911 operator to remain on the line until help arrives.
- Follow any specific directions given to you on the phone.
How Can I Decrease My Risk for a Stroke?
You can help to prevent a stroke by controlling risk factors, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation)
- High cholesterol
In fact, a study from The Lancet found that high blood pressure is the most important modifiable risk factor for preventing a stroke.
*Action Plan: If you have any of these risk factors, talk to your doctor about ways to lower your risk for stroke.
Treatments that may benefit you greatly, if recommended by your doctor, include:
How Does the Doctor Diagnose a Stroke?
Diagnosing the correct type of stroke is important to determine the best treatment. An imaging test may be needed to classify the stroke.
The doctor will review family history of stroke, and determine what type of risk factors exist in the person with a suspected stroke. They will also do a physical exam and focus on the blood pressure, heart, and neurologic changes to the brain.
- A Computed Tomography (CT) scan or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan may be used to create pictures of the brain.
- A lumbar puncture may be performed to check the cerebrospinal fluid for blood.
- Other tests may include a chest x-ray, an electrocardiogram (EKG), blood tests, or ultrasounds.
Should Everyone Take a Daily Aspirin to Help Prevent Heart Disease or Stroke?
In 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated consumer information on the question of daily, low-dose (81 mg) aspirin use to prevent a stroke, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued updated guidelines in April 2016.
The bottom line is that aspirin use is not safe for everyone and is not a decision you should make on your own without your doctor's advice. Your specific risk factors, like stomach bleeding risk, heart health, future risk of heart attack and stroke, and family history need to be taken into consideration with your doctor.
- At this time, based on April 2016 USPSTF recommendations, research is insufficient to support aspirin use to prevent a first-time heart attack or stroke (for primary prevention) in adults younger than 50 or older than 70 years.
- In adults age 50 to 59 years, the USPSTF recommends initiating low-dose aspirin if there is a 10% or greater 10-year cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, are not at increased risk for bleeding, have a life expectancy of at least 10 years, and are willing to take low-dose aspirin daily for at least 10 years. Your cardiovascular risk can be calculated by your doctor.
- The decision to initiate low-dose aspirin use to prevent a first-time heart attack in adults aged 60 to 69 years who have a 10% or greater 10-year risk should be an individual one based on bleeding risk, life expectancy, and personal preferences for long-term aspirin use.
Aspirin provides no benefit for primary prevention of stroke (in people who have never had a stroke) and could increase the risk for dangerous side effects like stomach or brain bleeding. According to Up to Date, in large, well-performed studies, aspirin use had no significant impact on the prevention of stroke in people without established heart disease.
*Action Plan: Talk to your doctor to determine if low-dose aspirin is the right treatment for you. Do not start treatment on your own without this important conversation.
HealthQuiz Question #1
Are you ready to test your knowledge? Let's see if you know the answers to these 6 questions -- and remember -- we don't care if you go back and look. This is an open slideshow test!
Which one of these events can lead to a stroke?
- When blood and oxygen supply gets blocked to a part of the brain, say by a blood clot.
- When a blood vessel in the brain bursts, bleeding into the brain.
- Low blood pressure.
- Both 1 and 2 are correct.
See next slide for answer.
Answer: HealthQuiz Question #1
The correct answer is 4. Both 1 and 2 are correct. A lack of oxygen and bleeding into the brain can cause a stroke. Well-controlled blood pressure actually helps to prevent a stroke, and should be a goal.
- A stroke can occur when the blood and oxygen supply to the brain is suddenly blocked or when a blood vessel bursts. Brain cells die without enough oxygen or nutrients.
- If circulation to the brain is quickly restored, symptoms can improve in a few days. If blood supply is interrupted for a longer period of time, permanent disability can occur
- A stroke that leads to excessive bleeding in the brain can lead to death.
HealthQuiz Question #2
What are the benefits of going to a certified stroke center?
- A certified stroke center can offer a quicker response for stroke diagnosis and treatment.
- A certified stroke center can offer evidence-based protocols for effective stroke treatment.
- Healthcare providers at certified stroke centers are properly trained and experienced in stroke treatment.
- All of the above.
See next slide for answer.
Answer: HealthQuiz Question #2
The correct answer is 4. All of the answers are correct. The benefits of going to a certified primary stroke center are many -- including the appropriate treatment, qualified healthcare providers, and a facility with experience in treating patients with all types of strokes.
As of 2018, there are more than 1,100 certified primary stroke centers in all 50 states plus Puerto Rico. Certification is available only to programs in accredited acute care hospitals, and is administered by the Joint Commission.
You can search for certified stroke centers in your area here.
HealthQuiz Question #3
Which of the following statements is FALSE?
- Aspirin is safe for everyone and it should be taken daily to prevent a stroke.
- The only type of stroke that occurs is a hemorrhagic stroke.
- Instead of calling 911 when you suspect someone is having a stroke, you should drive them to the emergency room the next day.
- All of the above are FALSE.
See next slide for answer.
Answer: HealthQuiz Question #3
The correct answer is 4. All of the answers are FALSE.
Studies have shown that aspirin should usually NOT be used to prevent a stroke in patients who have NOT had a previous stroke or without established heart disease. Always check with your doctor to determine if you should take a daily low-dose aspirin, as aspirin can lead to unexpected, and dangerous, bleeding in some patients.
There are two common types of stroke: hemorrhagic (bleeding in the brain) and ischemic strokes (blockage of a brain blood vessel). Finally, if you suspect a stroke in someone, call 911 IMMEDIATELY and tell then you believe the person has had a stroke and needs to go to a certified stroke center. Emergency personnel are better equipped to transport a stroke victim.
HealthQuiz Question #4
F.A.S.T. is a shortcut to help people remember what to do if they suspect a stroke in someone. F.A.S.T. stands for:
- F=FACE drooping. A=ARM weakness. S=SPEECH difficulty. T=TIME to call 911.
- F=FAST phone call. A=AIM high. S=STAND by. T=TELL history.
- F=FREE clinic. A=ALL medications. S=SKIP water. T=TALK to doctor.
- None of the above.
See next slide for answer.
Answer: HealthQuiz Question #4
The correct answer is 1. Knowing the F.A.S.T. rules can help you quickly assess if someone is having a stroke.
F = FACE drooping. Drooping on one side of the mouth or face (for example, ask them to smile) is a sign of stroke.
A = ARM weakness. Ask the person to raise their arms. Does one arm drift downward or can't be lifted?.
S = SPEECH difficulty. Is the person's speech slurred or garbled? Can they repeat a simple sentence?.
T = TIME to call 911. Call for emergency help if you see any of these signs and note the time the symptoms first appeared.
HealthQuiz Question #5
Recognizing stroke symptoms in someone is one way to realize that a stroke may be occurring and that you need to quickly get help. Common stroke symptoms include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness
- Trouble with speech or language, slurred talking
- Sudden, severe headache
- All of the above
See next slide for answer.
Answer: HealthQuiz Question #5
The correct answer is 5. All of the answers are correct. Common stroke symptoms include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body
- Vision trouble
- Trouble with walking or balance
- Severe headache with no known cause
Using the F.A.S.T. acronym will help you to remember the symptoms and to call 911 quickly. Speed of treatment is paramount in determining a good outcome for patients who have had a stroke.
HealthQuiz Question #6
Prevention is always the best medicine. Which of the following are ways to help decrease your individual risk for a stroke?
- Do not smoke or quit smoking now.
- See your doctor for a regular check-up and physical.
- If you have atrial fibrillation, take your blood-thinning medications as prescribed by your doctor.
- If you are overweight or obese, undertake a recommended weight loss program and remain active.
- All of the above
See next slide for answer.
Answer: HealthQuiz Question #6
The correct answer is 5. All of the answers are correct. Stroke is often a by-product of the conditions of unhealthy living:
- a sedentary lifestyle with weight gain
- excessive alcohol intake
- not adhering to prescribed medication regimens
- high cholesterol and blood pressure; diabetes
- coronary artery disease.
Family history can play a role, too. Maintaining a healthy diet and weight, exercising regularly, and not smoking can all aid in stroke prevention and overall heart health.
Finished: HealthQuiz - Basics About Stroke Signs and Symptoms
- Final Update Summary: Aspirin Use to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease and Colorectal Cancer: Preventive Medication. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. April 2016. Accessed Feb 19, 2018 at https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/UpdateSummaryFinal/aspirin-to-prevent-cardiovascular-disease-and-cancer https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/UpdateSummaryFinal/aspirin-to-prevent-cardiovascular-disease-and-cancer
- Hennekens C, et al. Overview of primary prevention of coronary heart disease and stroke. Up to Date. Jan. 2018. Accessed Feb 18, 2018 at https://www.uptodate.com/contents/overview-of-primary-prevention-of-coronary-heart-disease-and-stroke
- Patient education: Aspirin in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer (Beyond the Basics). Accessed Feb 18, 2018 at https://www.uptodate.com/contents/aspirin-in-the-primary-prevention-of-cardiovascular-disease-and-cancer-beyond-the-basics
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Stroke Statistics and Maps. Accessed 2/18/2018 at http://www.cdc.gov/stroke/statistics_maps.htm
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Aspirin for Reducing Your Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke: Know the Facts. Accessed 2/18/2018 at http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/UnderstandingOver-the-CounterMedicines/SafeDailyUseofAspirin/ucm291433.htm
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Use of Aspirin for Primary Prevention of Heart Attack and Stroke. 12/2016. Accessed 2/18/2018 at https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm390574.htm
- Drugs.com. Know the Signs of Stroke. Accessed 2/18/2018 at https://www.drugs.com/news/know-signs-stroke-51544.html
- Drugs.com. Stroke Often Missed in ER, Study Finds. Accessed 2/18/2018 at https://www.drugs.com/news/stroke-often-missed-ers-study-finds-51086.html.