African-Americans are at the Highest Risk for Stroke:
Bystanders witnessing a stroke should call 9-1-1
“I was not very familiar with the symptoms of stroke, but I knew I was having one. I immediately called my daughter at work and she called 9-1-1. The ambulance came right away and I was able to get care in less than 30 minutes,” said Mr. Hinton. “Don’t wait around; call 9-1-1 right away.”
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of adult disability. Someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds in the United States, with a
stroke-related death occurring every 4 minutes. Yet, many people do not know the symptoms or what to do when they witness someone having a stroke.
Studies show that the rate of first strokes in African Americans is almost double that of Caucasians and strokes tend to occur earlier in life for African Americans. This confirms the need for this community to know and recognize the stroke signs and symptoms and
call 9-1-1 immediately.
Joe Hinton was treated with IV tPA, a clot-busting drug, within a 4.5 hour time window. “I’m lucky I was able to call my daughter, and that she realized she had to call the
ambulance right away,” Mr. Hinton added.
A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted or if bleeding occurs in or around the brain. Brain cells die when deprived of oxygen and nutrients provided by blood. Because stroke injures the brain, if you are having a stroke, you may not
realize what is happening. But to a bystander, the signs of a stroke are distinct:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body)
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
In treating a stroke, every minute counts. Treatments are available that greatly reduce the damage caused by a stroke, but you need to arrive at the hospital within 60 minutes after
symptoms start in order to receive some treatments. Making changes in your lifestyle can help prevent stroke. Risk factors include high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, heart disease, family history of stroke, high cholesterol, and being overweight. Talk to your doctor about the concerns you may have about the risk factors of stroke and take action.
“For African-Americans, stroke is more common and more deadly – even in young and
middle-aged adults – than for any other ethnic or racial group in the country,” said Salina P. Waddy, M.D., program director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and
Stroke (NINDS). “It is critical that bystanders know to call 9-1-1 when witnessing someone having a stroke. Getting to the hospital quickly to receive appropriate medical treatment can dramatically decrease or even prevent long-term disabilities caused by a stroke.”
To learn more about NINDS research on stroke prevention and treatment, stroke symptoms and signs, and to order free educational materials, visit stroke.nih.gov.
NINDS (ninds.nih.gov) is the nation’s leading funder of research on the brain and nervous system. The NINDS mission is to reduce the burden of neurological disease – a burden borne by every age group, by every segment of society, by people all over the world.
About the Know Stroke Campaign
NINDS developed the Know Stroke campaign to help educate the public about the signs and symptoms of stroke and calling 9-1-1 to seek immediate treatment. The campaign includes outreach to consumers and health care professionals using mass media, grassroots efforts, partnerships, and community education. Please visit stroke.nih.gov
for more information.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical
research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit nih.gov.