Don’t Miss the Subtle Warning Signs of Strokes
A stroke occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. This can happen to anyone at any time. When it does, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. The cells affected by that area of the brain can damage memory and muscle control. How the person is affected afterward depends on the severity of the stroke. People with small strokes may only have minor problems like temporary weakness in their limbs. Those with larger strokes may experience permanent paralyzation on one side of their body or lose their ability to speak. Some people recover completely from strokes, but unfortunately, more than 2/3 or survivors will have some type of disability. Strokes can be a devastating. It is important to be aware of the signs.
You may have heard of the acronym used to identify when a stroke is happening; F.A.S.T.
If you notice that one side of the face is drooping or numb, ask the person to smile. If their smile is uneven or lopsided this could be indicative of a stroke.
While we know pain in your left arm points to a heart attack, arm weakness or numbness could mean a stroke. Ask the person experiencing the weakness to raise both of their arms. One arm drifting downward involuntarily is a sign.
Watch for slurred speech, or the person being unable to speak. If they are hard to understand, ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like, “The sky is blue”. If the person is not able to correctly repeat the words they may be having a stroke.
Time to call 9-1-1
If someone shows these symptoms call 9-1-1 and report that you think they are having a stroke. Even if you’re not sure it is a stroke get them to the hospital immediately, time is of the essence! Note the time you first notice the symptoms and let the emergency responders know.
F.A.S.T. are the most common symptoms of stroke, but there are others. These additional symptoms can appear in combination with F.A.S.T. symptoms, or separately. These other symptoms include, sudden confusion, or understanding speech. There could be sudden numbness of face or legs, especially on only one side of the body. If there is sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination. Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
It is always best to be safe rather than sorry. If you think you or someone near you is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, get help immediately. Receiving timely stroke treatment is an important step to recovery. Immediate treatment may minimize the long-term effects of a stroke, and even prevent death. With recent medical advances, stroke treatments and survival rates have improved greatly over the last decade.
If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section below.