Could you tell if your co-worker was having a stroke? If so, you might save a life or prevent a severe disability.

Stroke is the fourth-leading cause of death in this country and a major cause of severe, long-term health problems. According to a 2004 study published in Emergency Medicine News, first strokes among people in their 40s and 50s are most likely to occur on Monday and least likely to occur on the weekends.

The researchers concluded that this pattern may indicate a correlation between job stress and strokes among younger people.

People who are having a stroke have the best chance of recovery if someone nearby recognizes the symptoms and acts quickly.

When someone is having a stroke, symptoms usually come on suddenly. Here are five signs that someone may be having a stroke:

1. They seem to have lost strength on one side of their body. They may slump to one side and be unable to stand straight. They might also veer to one side when trying to walk and drag the foot on the side they are leaning toward.

2. They may have a hard time talking. They might have problems getting words out or sound as though they have something in their mouth when they try to speak. They may also use words that don't make sense. And one side of their mouth might droop.

3. If you ask someone in the midst of stroke to raise both arms at the same time, one arm may begin to fall down. Likewise, if you ask them to squeeze your fingers with each hand, one hand may be weaker than the other.

4. People experiencing strokes often have significant changes in vision. They may have trouble seeing with one or both eyes. Their sight may be blurry or they may see double. In addition, they may not be able to see everything in their field of vision.

5. They may have a sudden, severe headache of no known cause. In fact, they may describe it as the worst headache of their lives. A sudden or loud noise might make their headache worse. And light might hurt their eyes.

Recent advances in pharmaceuticals have allowed us to minimize the damage of many strokes, if a patient makes it to the hospital quickly. So, if you recognize the signs of a stroke in a co-worker don’t hesitate, call 911 immediately.

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