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When to Seek Medical Care

Stroke is a medical emergency. If you think you are having a stroke or a person with you is having a stroke, immediately call for an ambulance and transport to a hospital's emergency department.

Self-Care at Home

Stroke is a medical emergency and seconds count. Brain cells begin to die within 4 minutes of the beginning of a stroke. Call 911 for emergency medical transport to a hospital's emergency department.

  • Current treatments for acute stroke must be given by a doctor and within a short time of the onset of symptoms. It is crucial for the person experiencing a stroke to get to the emergency department as quickly as possible to get the most benefit from any treatment.
  • If you think you are having a stroke or someone with you is having a stroke, call 911.
    • Do not wait to see if symptoms go away.
    • Do not call your doctor.
    • Do not take aspirin. This will be given later if needed.
    • Do not drive yourself or wait for a ride to the hospital.

Strokes are preventable! The most important thing you can do is to get your blood pressure   checked and treated if it is high.

  • Have your blood pressure checked and monitored by a doctor. Even moderately high blood pressure over years can lead to a stroke.
  • Treat high cholesterol with diet and exercise and then medication to reduce the risk of stroke. High levels of blood cholesterol known as LDL (low-density lipoprotein) increase risk for stroke and may cause the formation of artery-narrowing plaque.
  • In people with certain irregular heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation, the use of blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin) has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke.
  • For the general population, aspirin has not been shown to reduce stroke risk. It may be useful if prescribed by a doctor for people who have an increased risk of stroke.
  • Control diabetes  .
  • Stop smoking or never smoke.
  • Know the symptoms of stroke. Act quickly when someone exhibits the signs of a stroke. Stroke is a medical emergency.


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