The symptoms of a stroke are clear, real, easy to see, and need your attention.
Here Are The Warning Signs: F.A.S.T. If there is ever a time to call 9-1-1. This is it.
- Face drooping: It’s there to see. A sure warning. Asking the person to smile will help confirm the warning. The face will frequently be numb.
- Arm weakness: One arm may be weak and/or numb. Ask the person to squeeze your hand. The weakness will very often not allow them to squeeze. They may think they are, but you won’t feel it.
- Speech difficulty: The speech of a stroke patient may be be slurred. The patient may not be able to speak at all, or the words are not understandable.
- Time to call: These symptoms in easy to remember F.A.S.T. When present, call 9-1-1. The universal number for help in an emergency. And Stroke is an emergency.
The Stroke association has some wonderful graphics to help understand the symptoms of stroke.
There are other signs to watch for. F.A.S.T. is great when you think someone is having a stroke. If you see them, you need to act. But there are other signs you should be aware of.
If These Things Happen Suddenly:
- Numbness in the face arm hand or leg. If one side seems affected and not the other. There may also be weakness in these areas.
- Confusion. It may be the inability to speak or understand.
- Difficulty seeing. Blurred vision or trouble seeing out of one or both eyes. Vision loss may be severe.
- Difficulty walking. There may be dizziness or unstable walking. Weakness and falling.
- Sever headache. Doctors have reported that a headache may be the worst you could ever imagine.
The symptoms of a stroke are the same in men and women.
These symptoms require immediate medical attention. Call 9-1-1.
Stroke Education At A Glance
Transient ischemic attack (TIA): Often called a mini stroke. Doctors call it a warning stroke. It is frequently a precursor to a full stroke. The cause is a clot. Unlike a ‘full’ stroke, it dissolves quickly and lasts only a few minutes. Often less than five minutes. It leaves no brain damage. It is temporary thus the name, transient.
Most strokes are not preceded by a TIA, but the Stroke association reports that nearly a third of TIA’s result in a stroke within a year.
Clots are naturally occurring. The body has natural agents to clear clots. The damage from a stroke occurs when a clot is not cleared and blood to a portion of the brain is lost. Blood loss equals damage to that area of the brain.
Doctors have recommended that the response to a TIA and a Stroke should be the same. Immediate medical attention.
Two Types of Strokes
Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain. It is the most common form of stroke, representing 87% of all strokes. Immediate treatment is essential. There is a ‘miracle’ FDA approved drug, tPA, also known as IV rtPA.
If the drug is administered with in three hours of a stroke, it is able to dissolve or clear the clot before serious, permanent brain damage occurs.
Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when there is a rupture in a blood vessel in the brain. The cause of a hemorrhagic stroke is frequently tied to high blood pressure. Hypertension is often a part of the cause.
Treatments for a hemorrhagic stroke vary, but include the surgical procedure of feeding a device through the blood vessel, (in the thigh) to the point of the aneurysm. The key is to stop the bleeding.
Stroke Is Serious.
Each year, nearly 800,000 people in the United States will suffer a stroke. Stroke ranks third as the cause of death.
Stroke is also a leading cause of long term disability. Brain damage from stroke leaves many seriously disabled.
- If you or someone you’re with, shows signs of a stroke F.A.S.T. Immediately call 9-1-1.
- Time is of the essence.
- Make note of the time so you can tell the first responders when symptoms began.
- The information is vital in treatment. The stroke miracle drug has only a three hour window to be effective.
- If you are alone when symptoms begin, after calling 9-1-1, make sure the door is not locked so first responders can get to you.
Myths About Strokes
- Myth: Strokes only happens to older people. Stroke can happen at any age. 25% occur in people under 65.
- Myth: Strokes are typically difficult to recognize. Actually it is simple, F.A.S.T.
- Myth: Women are protected from strokes. The American Stroke association reports that women suffer stroke more often than men. The difference is slight, but true.
- Myth: You can treat a stroke at home by taking aspirin. Aspirin is a treatment for heart attacks. It can be harmful in a stroke.
- Myth: There’s nothing you can do to prevent a stroke. You need to be active in your health care. Monitor blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and other health issues.
- Myth: A stroke is a type of heart attack or a type of seizure. A stroke is a clot or a rupture of a blood vessel in the brain. It is not related to the heart. It can be present during a seizure.
- Myth: There are warning signs to a stroke. There are not, until it has occurred. Strokes are sudden and without warning. There are many symptoms once it has occurred. F.A.S.T.
The Effects Of A Stroke
Stroke Association.org reports that the effect depend on which side of the brain the clot or rupture occurred.
A stroke on the right side will effect the left side of the body, and vice versa.
A right side stroke will:
- Paralysis on the left side of the body
- Vision problems
- Quick, inquisitive behavioral style
- Memory loss
A left side stroke will:
- Paralysis on the right side of the body
- Speech/language problems
- Slow, cautious behavioral style
- Memory loss
A third location for a stroke is in the brain stem.
A brainstem stroke can be one of the most severe and can leave the patient without the ability to speak. In severe cases, the patient may not have body movement below the neck.
Stroke is a serious condition. It requires immediate medical attention. Those who do not act quickly may find significant to catastrophic results. Long term disabilities are common when immediate care is not lacking.
Those who act quickly, receiving immediate care including the ‘miracle’ drug known as IV rtPA, may not experience any long term disabilities and can continue a normal active lifestyle.
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