Learn warning signs of a stroke
Stroke is a serious disease that occurs when blood vessels that carry oxygen to the brain rupture or become blocked. Without the needed oxygen, brain cells will die.
Stroke is listed fifth as the leading cause of death in the United States and ranks number one in causing prolonged disabilities. Understanding the signs and symptoms of stroke, along with fast action can potentially save you or your loved ones.
How Stroke Affects the Brain
The type of damage that can happen to the brain depends on where the stroke occurs. For instance, if the back of the brain is involved there could be vision impairment. A brain-stem stroke affects the whole body leaving the patient without speech or movement. Stroke on the right or left side of the brain will cause damage to the opposite side of the body. The resulting neurological complications will depend on the severity of the stroke.
• Right brain stroke will affect the left side of the body, potentially causing left-side paralysis, vision problems, inquisitive behavior and memory loss.
• Left brain stroke will affect the right side of the body which could result in right-side paralysis, speech issues, slow behavior style and memory loss.
If you think someone has had a stroke, look for these important signs. Quickly determine if it is an emergency and 9-1-1 should be called. The sooner you get help, the better chance there is for recovery:
F - Face drooping: If one side of the person’s face appears to droop or the face looks uneven when smiling, this is a sign of stroke.
A - Arm weakness: If the person complains of weakness in the arm, have the person raise both arms in the air. If one arm slowly drifts back down, this is also a sign.
S - Speech difficulty: Those who experience stroke will have slurred speech or are unable to speak. If the person is difficult to understand or cannot repeat a simple sentence back to you, get help.
T - Time to call 9-1-1: Any of these signs, even if they seem to go away or get better are signs of stroke. Do not wait, call for help immediately or get the person to the hospital. Keep track of when the symptoms first occurred.
Other Symptoms to Look For
Sometimes strokes can develop slowly, making it difficult to determine. If you or a loved one experiences any of these further symptoms, even if they seem to go away, seek help immediately.
Trouble focusing with one or both eyes
Weakness or numbness, especially one side of the body, in the arms, leg or face
Trouble speaking or trouble understanding what people are saying
Dizziness or a severe headache that appears for no reason
Difficulty with coordination, balance or walking
Experiencing stroke can be devastating for the individual and loved ones. Learn the warning signs and symptoms and take action quickly. Fast thinking could minimize the damaging effects of stroke and potentially save a life.