A stroke occurs when there is an interruption in the blood supply going to the brain. It can occur when a blood vessel ruptures or is blocked. When a stroke occurs it is usually happens fast and the symptoms that signal it are sudden. Knowing the signs of a stroke is vital and one must react immediately. It only takes a few seconds when the brain cannot get enough blood and oxygen which can cause permanent damage. Awareness of these signs can help someone save a life, even your own.
There are two types of strokes that are most common: ischemic and hemorrhagic.
This type of stroke can occur when a blood clot is present blocking the flow of blood supplied to the brain. A blood clot can be either a thrombus or an embolism. Both of these are serious and can travel to various parts of the body. If the clot pushes to a smaller blood vessel or artery it can trigger a stroke or fatality.
This type of stroke can occur when the blood vessels in the brain weaken causing blood to leak into the brain. This is also dangerous for it can cause damage to the brain cells that can be both temporary and permanent.
- Starts suddenly and may be severe.
- Numbness or muscle weakness in the face, arm or leg can be experienced.
- Usually affects one side of the body, although this is not always the case.
- Find that swallowing has become difficult.
- Experience trouble walking, have loss of balance or coordination and sometimes dizziness.
- Can occur at any time even if you’re still and lying on a flat surface.
- Notice changes in taste, alertness and hearing.
- Confusion or trouble speaking or understanding others.
- Can wake you; even from a sound sleep.
- Worsens when the body changes positions; stand, sit or by bending.
Think – F.A.S.T.
Use the following tool to help you recognize stroke symptoms - FAST:
Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
If you observe any of these signs, then it’s time to call 9-1-1.
Brain cells are dying!
- If you experience symptoms or you see anyone experience any of these symptoms call “9-1-1” immediately.
- Don’t tell yourself it will pass or say let’s wait and see because it can be too late.
- Treatment for a stroke should start immediately. How the stroke is treated depends on its severity.
- Stoke patients that receive medical attention within 3 hours after the symptoms begin have a greater chance of reversing its affects and preventing permanent damage or death.
How to avoid a stroke though early testing:
- Make an appointment with your physician to have a stroke or carotid artery screening done. It is an ultrasound evaluation of the carotid arteries. The screening can determine if there is a buildup of fatty plaque in the arteries.
- Ask about a hearty rhythm screening or atrial fibrillation. This test (EKG) can identify the presence or absence of irregular heartbeats in the arms and legs.
- Learn about an abdominal aortic aneurysm screening. This is an ultrasound that can identify the presence of an aneurysm in the abdominal aorta.
- There is also a peripheral arterial disease screening that can be done. This evaluates arterial disease or plaque buildup in the lower extremities.
- Find out about osteoporosis risk assessment tests. This is also done by ultrasound to determine abnormal bone mass density through measurement of the heel bone.
It is better to be safe than sorry!
© 2013 Beverly Mucha / All Rights Reserved
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