A stroke occurs when part of the brain doesn’t get enough blood. When this occurs the cells don’t get oxygen or nutrients and they die. Here are seven(7) things to watch out for.
Always remember the acronym FAST.
FAST stands for Face, Arms, Speech, and Time, and will remind you what to check for when you suspect a person is having a stroke, as well as the importance of time. If you notice the above symptoms, it is important to call your local emergency number immediately. Minutes count when it comes to providing the best possible treatment and outcome for the person.
Face: Ask the person to smile to see if one side of the face droops.
Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Can he at all? Does one arm drift downward?
Speech: Is the person slurring speech? Is he unable to speak at all? Is the person confused by a simple request to repeat a short sentence?
Time: Immediately call your local emergency number in the event of these symptoms. Do not hesitate.
Look for weak facial muscles or limbs.
The person may be unable to hold objects or suddenly lose balance while standing. Look for signs that only one side of the person’s face or body has become weaker. One side of the person’s mouth may droop when smiling or he may not be able to hold both arms up over his head.
Always take note of a mini stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).
A TIA appears to be similar to a stroke (often called a “mini stroke”) but lasts less than five minutes and leaves no lasting damage. However, it is still a medical emergency and requires evaluation and treatment to reduce the potential risk of developing a stroke. These are highly predictive of a subsequent disabling stroke in hours or days after a TIA event. Doctors believe that the symptoms are caused by a transient blockage of the arteries in the brain.
Look for confusion or trouble with speaking or understanding speech.
When certain areas of the brain are affected, the individual may have trouble speaking or understanding what is being said to her. Your loved one may look confused by what you are saying, respond in a way that indicates she didn’t understand what was said, slur her words, or speak in garbled noises that do not resemble speech. This can be very scary. Do your best to calm her after you have called your local emergency number for emergency medical treatment.
Sometimes the person will not be able to speak at all.
Ask if the person has vision trouble in one or both eyes.
During a stroke, eyesight may be suddenly and severely affected. You may notice that the person turns his head completely to the left to see what is in the left eye field of vision using the right eye. People report losing eyesight in one or both eyes or seeing double. Ask the person if he/she cannot see or is seeing double (if he is having trouble speaking, ask him to nod yes or no if possible).
Watch for loss of coordination or balance.
When the person loses strength in her/his arms or legs, you may notice the person has difficulty with balance and coordination. She may be unable to pick up a pen, or unable to coordinate walking due to one leg being unable to function correctly.
You may also notice weakness or sudden stumbling and falling.