brain ct scan

By Dr. Jack Schim

Did you know that every 40 seconds here in the United States, someone experiences a stroke? And did you know that 80% of all strokes are preventable? When it comes to treating, and even preventing a stroke, there are things you need to know and signs to look for.

But what exactly is a stroke? A stroke is essentially a “brain attack” much like a heart attack where portions of the brain do not receive an adequate amount of blood and brain cells die. Here are some crucial facts you should know about stroke:

  1. Stroke can be prevented. The major risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, and smoking. In addition, being overweight, and sleep apnea are other common treatable factors.
  2. Stroke is treatable. Most stroke represents a blocked blood vessel in the brain, and with rapid treatment in the hospital, within the first few hours, effective interventions are available.
  3. Stroke can be identified. FAST is an acronym used as a mnemonic to help detect and enhance responsiveness to stroke victim needs.
    • Facial drooping: A section of the face, usually only on one side, that is drooping and hard to move. This can be recognized by a crooked smile.
    • Arm weakness: The inability to raise one’s arm fully.
    • Speech difficulties: An inability or difficulty to understand or produce speech.
    • Time: If any of the symptoms above are showing, time is of the essence; call the emergency services or go to the hospital. Time is of the essence and every minute of untreated stroke can cause death of 2 million brain cells.

Taking steps now to prevent a future stroke is important to saving a life, and knowing the signs and symptoms is vital and may even save the life of someone you know.

dr. jack schim

About Dr. Schim
Jack Schim, MD, is a Voluntary Assistant Clinical Professor in the Neuroscience Department at University of California San Diego. He has special interests in headache management, stroke prevention, neuropathic pain treatment, acute stroke intervention, and neurologic rehabilitation. He earned his medical degree from University of California San Diego (UCSD) Medical School. He served as a medical intern at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and completed his neurology residency at UCSD. Dr. Schim is Chair of the Division of Neuroscience at Scripps Hospital, Encinitas, and Medical Director of the Stroke Program at Tri-City Medical Center.