How to survive a stroke: 7 things you need to know

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Strokes can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability, and even death, so if you notice the symptoms of a stroke for yourself or someone near you, call 911 right away. The sooner you get treatment, the better your chances of surviving and making a full recovery.

Here are seven things you can do to help yourself or a loved one survive a stroke:

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1. Be prepared

Learn your risk factors for stroke. All older women are at higher risk of stroke, as are many men. If you are at high risk of stroke, or are a caregiver for an older person, write down the following action items and keep this list in your wallet or on your refrigerator:

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2. Know where the nearest hospital is

Find a Primary Stroke Center or Comprehensive Stroke Center in your area on

Stroke centers are hospitals with special certifications in stroke care. In some states, if a stroke center is nearby, you or your family members can ask the ambulance to take you there.

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3. Have a list of medications

Include prescription and over-the-counter medicines and any vitamins and minerals or other supplements you take. Keep a copy with you at all times. Also note any medications you may be allergic to.

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4. Take action

If you notice any stroke symptoms, don’t wait. Get help right away.

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5. Call 911 right away

The sooner you get treatment, the better your chances of surviving and making a full recovery. For many people, the best stroke treatment must be given within 3 to 4½ hours of when your symptoms start. Note the time when you first notice any symptoms.

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6. Do not drive

Wait for the ambulance to arrive, as ambulance workers can begin lifesaving treatment on the way to the hospital.

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7. Do not take aspirin

Aspirin can make some kinds of stroke worse.

For more information about strokes and stroke symptoms, call the OWH Helpline at 1-800-994-9662 or check out the following resources from other organizations:

This article was excerpted from and was syndicated by

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Constance Brinkley-Badgett

Constance Brinkley-Badgett is MediaFeed’s executive editor. She has more than 20 years of experience in digital, broadcast and print journalism, as well as several years of agency experience in content marketing. She has served as a digital producer at NBC Nightly News, Senior Producer at CNBC, Managing Editor at ICF Next, and as a tax reporter at Bloomberg BNA.