Each year, more than 795,000 Americans experience a stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Many stroke victims will die from complications related to stroke.
Stroke ranks third among causes of death in the United States, according to the Internet Stroke Center. And it’s the leading cause of grave long-term disability. It particularly affects African-American men, smokers, seniors, and people living in the Southeastern U.S.
The ability to recognize stroke symptoms can help save lives. If you think someone is experiencing a stroke, rush them to essential emergency care.
Click through the slideshow to learn more about the signs of stroke in men.
A stroke indicates a lack of blood flow to the brain. It can be caused by a clot in a blood vessel or a ruptured vessel.
If the cause is a clot, the patient needs clot-busting drugs within minutes or hours of the stroke, as well as other interventions. These drugs and interventions are necessary for the patient to have a chance of recovery.
It’s likely that a bystander will have a better grasp of the situation than the stroke victim themselves.
Stroke is marked by an inability to speak, a strained expression, and confusion. A stroke victim may have trouble talking or understanding conversation.
Other symptoms related to brain disruption include:
- loss of coordination or balance
- headache that comes on out of nowhere
A stoke can affect several parts of the body, including:
- eyes: trouble seeing in one or both
- face, arms, or legs: weakness or numbness, most likely on one side of the body, with abrupt onset
- stomach: throwing up or the urge to be sick
- body: overall fatigue
- legs: sudden trouble walking
The exact symptoms vary depending on the affected area of the brain. Strokes often affect just one of the brain’s two hemispheres (left and right). Stroke in one hemisphere affects the opposite side of the body.
If you think someone may be having a stroke, perform the following three-part test and then take action:
- F - Face: Ask the man if he can smile. Check if one side of the face droops.
- A - Arms: Ask the man to raise his arms. See if one arm drifts downward.
- S - Speech: Ask the man to repeat a simple phrase. Check for slurred or odd speech.
- T - Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 911 right away.
A telephone survey published in 2003 by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine gauged public awareness of the signs of stroke. Women were slightly better than men at correctly identifying each of the five major symptoms:
- sudden confusion or trouble speaking: 90 percent of women vs. 85 percent of men
- numbness or weakness of face, arm, and/or leg: 95 percent of women vs. 93 percent of men
- trouble seeing: 69 percent of women vs. 67 percent of men
- sudden trouble walking, dizziness, and/or loss of balance: 87 percent of women vs. 85 percent of men
- severe headache: 65 percent of women vs. 58 percent of men
Call 911 without delay if you observe any of these symptoms. Don’t drive the patient yourself—paramedic attention is required right away. They can begin treatment in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
The victim himself may not be able to call 911. He may not be able to lift his arm or speak clearly. Or he may just act confused or unaware. That’s why it’s so important to understand the major signs of stroke.
Every second counts when a man is having a stroke.
If he has an ischemic stroke, which is the most common type, a blood clot is cutting off blood to the brain. A drug called t-PA can bust up the clot. The patient must get to the hospital within an hour for evaluation and begin treatment within three hours.
If family, friends, or a helpful nearby person knows the symptoms of stroke, a stroke victim is more likely to receive the needed care in time.