With the untimely passing of television actor Luke Perry today at age 52 of a stroke he suffered last Wednesday, it's a good day to reflect on what a stroke is and recognize the signs of a stroke.

A stroke is a situation in your body that has caused blood flow to be restricted to parts or all of the brain.

Gradually and Suddenly

A stroke can come on gradually, though in most cases you're likely to recognize one or more of these symptoms in yourself, or another that will happen suddenly. However, some strokes can occur over days. Warning signs of some ischemic strokes can present as soon as seven days prior.

Signs of Stroke

Numbness or weakness in the face, confusion or trouble understanding others, difficulty speaking, trouble seeing out of one or both eyes, problems with walking or balance, dizziness and or severe headaches that appear for no reason.

Even if you're not sure it's a stroke be safe and call 911, a speedy response is everything in a stroke case.

My Own Experience

On St Patricks Day 2012, a Saturday, I was doing yard work and came inside for a bottle of water. Standing at the sink, suddenly the room went dark, I felt like I was barefooted and the floor was made with spikes even though my work boots were still laced up. Touching my hair made the oddest tingly feeling ever, my tongue was tingly and felt as though it were swelling inside my mouth. I remember actually pulling my tongue out some to figure out if it was about to choke me to death.

Luckily for me, my son arrived to help with the yard about the time all this was going on, he spoke to me, even though I could clearly hear and understand him, I could not respond. I could not make my mouth make speech sounds. He called an ambulance.

I'd had a TMI, a transient ischemic attack. For some reason for a few moments, my brain did not get adequate blood and oxygen. At the emergency room, they started hydrating me with an IV, and I was kept overnight for observation, including cat scans and other tests.

No reason was ever given for the episode, they identified a tad of high blood pressure I was having, for which I took medication until switching to a keto diet last year, which lowered my BP.

Lower Your Risk for Stroke

There are ways to lower your risk for stroke, and they line up just like most other health advice; lower your blood pressure, lose weight, exercise more, drink alcohol in moderation, treat any atrial fib issues you have, treat diabetes and quit smoking.