After a few visits with a friend who has recently suffered from a major stroke, I think it's a good idea to pass along some information because strokes are not well understood by the public at large.
It's important for people to learn to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. If you or your family members don't recognize the fact that you're having a stroke, you may not get treatment quickly enough to prevent unnecessary long term brain damage. It's especially important to remember when symptoms first appeared. The most promising treatment, TPA, must be given within 3 hours of the first appearance of symptoms. It can actually cause harm if given after 3 hours have passed.
The aftereffects of strokes are also somewhat misunderstood. Most people recognize the temporary or permanent paralysis of of one side of the body as classic stroke symptoms. The brain swelling which takes place frequently causes problems with speech or control of the limbs on one side of the body which can require months of therapy to correct.
You may also want to ask your doctor about taking a daily low dose aspirin as a preventative for strokes and heart attacks. For some reason the body seems more prone to developing blood clots as we get older.
A podcast I listen to regularly, Skepticality, features a host who had a major stroke a few years ago. He returned to podcasting after about 4 months. At first his delivery wasn't as fluid as it had been before the stroke but with continued speech therapy, it's now hard to tell that he ever had a stroke. I'm hoping therapy proves just as effective for my friend.