Ignore your high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Be lazy. Smoke and drink as much as you can. Do these things and you can greatly increase your chances of having a debilitating stroke.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts and bleeds or becomes clogged, then the blood supply to the brain is cut off damaging the affected portion of the brain. It often is associated with aging, but can occur at any age.

Learning to identify and minimize risk factors can significantly reduce the incidence of stroke. Learning to recognize warning signs and seek medical treatment quickly also can decrease disabilities attributed to a stroke. Signs of trouble include:

  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden changes in vision
  • Feeling dizzy, difficulty with balance or coordination
  • A sudden numbness or weakness in the face, an arm, leg or one side of the body
  • Trouble walking

If one or more of these warning signs occur seek "immediate" medical attention. For more information on stroke prevention, contact a medical professional or the Kansas Stroke Prevention Project at (785) 628-1208.