What is a ”brain attack“?

Would you know if you, a family member or co-worker was having a brain attack? And, would you recognize the signs quickly and get help? Watch our video to learn more.

A brain attack is more commonly known as a stroke. When one occurs, the brain's blood supply is interrupted. Within minutes, brain tissue starts to die and the victim experiences a sudden loss of function.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death and serious long-term disability in the United States. It strikes about 700,000 people each year and causes approximately 163,000 deaths annually. Left untreated, a stroke victim typically loses 1.9 million neurons every minute. When compared with the normal rate of aging, a stroke causes the human brain to age 3.6 years each hour without treatment.

Know Warning Signs of a "Brain Attack"

At Ogden Regional Medical Center, these staggering numbers can be greatly reduced if victims receive acute treatment within the "window of opportunity" - three hours from the first signs of stroke. Stroke symptoms often come on very suddenly but sometimes occur over several minutes. In any case, seek immediate medical attention if you experience or observe any one of the following warning signs.

  • 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, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Here is the simple test for stroke. Memorize them and commit to Act F.A.S.T.:

  • F = FACE
    Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • A = ARM
    Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • S = SPEECH
    Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
  • T = TIME
    If you observe or experience any of these signs, remember that time is brain. Don't wait; call 911.

Over the past decade, there has been a national effort to create more of a sense of urgency about responding to strokes. Calling this often debilitating condition a "brain attack" might well prompt people to act more quickly to signs of a stroke. As with a heart attack, when stroke victims receive treatment fast, more lives are saved and brain damage is significantly reduced.