Health Watch - Heart Health: Identifying Stroke

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about the health of your heart, in honor of National Heart Month. One possible consequence of heart disease or high blood pressure is stroke – bleeding or blood clots in the brain that cut off oxygen to brain cells. If treatment begins quickly, doctors may be able to prevent death or disability from stroke. Unfortunately, a stroke doesn’t usually hurt in the way a heart attack does, so it may be harder to recognize the symptoms.

Dr. Mark Johnson, a neurologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says you should be aware of symptoms such as dizziness, mental confusion, severe headache, coordination problems or vision problems coming on suddenly. If you think someone is having a stroke, ask the person to smile, raise his or her arms and answer a simple question. Call 911 if the person can’t do any one of these. To lower your risk for stroke, don’t smoke, exercise regularly and manage high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in neurosciences.


February 2009