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"I didn't recognize anything major was happening"

Terresa Roberts

But something major was happening. Terresa Roberts had suffered a stroke.

"When the EMTs arrived... I walked to the ambulance under my own power. But in the one-mile drive between my home and the hospital, I went from code green to code red," Terresa said. 

Read the rest of Terresa's story.

Symptoms and Risks

What's my risk?

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted by either a blood clot or a bleeding blood vessel. Significant factors may put you at risk of suffering one of the three types of stroke (bleeding, clotting or minor stroke).

Some risk factors are under your control; others are not. It’s important to assess your risk for a stroke and work with a team of doctors and nurses to help prevent one.

Risk factors you can’t change include:

  • Age – Your risk for a stroke doubles every decade after you’ve reached the age of 55.
  • Family history – Your risk increases if you have a family member who has suffered a stroke.
  • Gender – Stroke is more common in men than women, yet more women die from stroke.
  • Previous stroke – If you have had a minor or major stroke, you have a 25 to 40 percent chance of having another stroke within five years.
  • Race – African-Americans are twice as likely to suffer a stroke as Caucasians.

Risk factors you can control include:

  • Cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes
  • Diet and exercise
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Weight

Notice the symptoms

If you notice any of the symptoms listed below, it is important to call 911 immediately.

  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding words
  • Difficulty walking or dizziness
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg – usually on one side of the body
  • Severe headaches
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes



Help others and yourself

As an academic medical center, The University of Kansas Health System is on the leading edge of medical research for stroke treatment. Learn about opportunities to participate in clinical studies that will help develop new medications and procedures that may make a difference in your care or that of others.