Stroke- Know the Common Signs!
Strokes are currently the 5th leading cause of death in the US. Approximately every 40 seconds a person in the US will experience a stroke. In addition, each year nearly 800,000 people will experience a new or recurrent stroke. It is therefore important for all individuals to be familiar with the signs, symptoms, and the importance of immediate treatment! Many people delay seeking medical treatment which always meets with challenging and sad outcomes.
So, let's start first by explaining simply what a stroke is:
A stroke is a sudden interruption in blood supply to the brain. Most strokes are caused by a blockage of arteries leading to the brain, but can also be caused by bleeding into brain tissue when a blood vessel bursts. When an individual has a stroke, their brain is not getting the blood it needs and therefore requires immediate treatment to resolve this situation. When the brain cells are deprived of oxygen they begin to die. The death of brain cells effects abilities controlled by the effected area including memory, speech, language, movement, and muscle control to name a few. Immediate treatment is therefore essential and lowers the chances of permanent brain damage, residual disabilities, and death. Sadly every 4 minutes someone dies from a stroke, often times due to delaying treatment.
What are common symptoms?
The symptoms may be immediately apparent or gradually noticed over a period of time.
Numbness, drooping, or weakness in the limbs or face, especially on one side of the body.
Changes in behavior, confusion or difficulty in understanding other people
Slurred speech or difficulty speaking
Visual difficulties - trouble seeing with one or both eyes
Problems standing, walking, staying balanced
Dizziness or lightheadedness
A severe headache that comes on quickly
What is the easiest way to detect a stroke?
Sometimes people will dismiss some of the common symptoms, but if you remember this easy acronym - FAST you are sure to stay on track and be able to easily spot the most common symptoms of a stroke in yourself or others. Often taking a checklist approach can eliminate doubt and make decision making easier and faster!
Face: Try to or ask the individual to smile and see if one side of the face droops.
Arms: Try to or ask the individuals to raise their arms. Unable to lift an arm or does it drop down?
Speech: Try to or ask the individual to say a short phrase and check for slurred or strange speech.
Time: If the answer to any of the questions above is yes, seek immediate medical attention by calling 911 right away! Do not drive to the hospital, wait for 911 to come and begin treatment! Be sure to also write down the time when symptoms are first discovered as starting!
By knowing the signs and acting fast you are lessening the chance of complications and increasing survival!!
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